Focus on the Mission
There is a story I like to share whenever I get to talking about Youth Ministry. It is about a time in the summer of 2021 where my family decided to take a road-trip summer vacation because flights were still largely on lockdown following the COVID pandemic.
On the very first night of our vacation, hours away from home, our car was stolen… off the driveway … with all our luggage inside.
Panic sunk in as we called the insurance company and the police. I recalled that the car had one of those security tracking devices. I called the car company to see if the tracker could be turned on so that we could locate the car. After explaining the situation to the lady on the other end, I faced dead end after dead end.
“Well – you need to prove you own the car – I’ll need the registration.”
The registration was in the glove compartment box of the stolen vehicle.
Not to be defeated, I dug up an old tax bill off my laptop – surely, I wouldn’t pay taxes on a car I didn’t own. The lady responded, “Ok, but you’ll need to fax that in – we cannot accept emails.”
Who owns a fax machine these days?
Again, determined to find the car, I downloaded a “fax” app on my phone and sent the tax bill to the company. The lady responded, “Great – now someone will get back to you in the next hour or so – we only check our fax machine once an hour.”
Ok, very funny … am I on a hidden camera show?
Needless to say – we did not find our car or our luggage. Why? Because procedure replaced mission.
Youth Ministry is not so different. You can have the best tools, state-of-the-art technology, and amazing resources – but without focus, resources become handcuffs, and procedure replaces mission.
Curriculum at its core is a tool – like a hammer, like a screwdriver. When we handcuff our youth workers’ focus, though, we replace the bond between the youth and the volunteers with procedures.
I attended a Youth Workers’ Conference a couple weeks ago and although we were all sharing resources with each other (available HERE), one theme I heard repeatedly was about MISSION.
Do you know what your mission is, what the purpose is behind your Youth Ministry effort? I promise you, it’s not about “Curriculum” or “Sunday School.”
This may seem like an odd thing to say in talking about Bridges to Orthodoxy’s curriculum, but in truth I did not create Bridges to Orthodoxy as a method to further the procedure… I created Bridges to Orthodoxy as a flexible and adaptable tool that can be used and flexed in a variety of different ways depending on your parish needs and focused mission.
In other words, curriculum is not a “part” of Youth Ministry – it is merely a tool to further your mission. If you have no mission, you have no Youth Ministry.
Instead of writing and re-writing curriculum…let us help you with that so you can focus on the mission – focus on the discipleship that teens so desperately need; focus on making Church their home too; and focus on the parent-connection that is often neglected.
Don’t get me wrong, Bridges to Orthodoxy has great content – content rotating between Bible Study, Orthodox Faith, and Social Topics teens desperately want to hear. We have Retreat Materials and Ongoing Theme-Based Units (for Church School or a Fellowship Group). But the materials are a tool, not a procedure.
Whether they know it or not, our teens need us more than they need our lesson.
"I forgive you" are three simple words that carry with it extreme POWER. Check out this retreat focused on the Parables and other Teachings of Jesus – hopefully clearing up some misconceptions of what Forgiveness "IS" and what it "IS NOT."
This retreat, we hope teens see that forgiving someone makes you ok even if it does not make it ok.
Also check out our 2-month Unit that will carry teens through Lent. "Follow Me." Jesus uttered these words to many, but only some answered His call.
Most of Jesus' followers were very unlikely disciples: fishermen, a tax collector, a woman previously possessed by demons, and others. They saw something in Jesus that was worth following. This Lent unit will be a character study - some said "yes" and some said "no," but what does ti really mean to "click" on "Follow Me"?