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NextGen Ministry: It's time to confront an underlying issue

It’s time for you and I to confront an underlying issue that has existed in next generation ministry for decades: the personality-driven model. You know what this is. It’s the kind of kids or student ministry that dissipates as soon as the key leader moves on to another opportunity. We can do better.

The next generation doesn’t need more big personalities, they need leaders who think strategically.

There are plenty of charismatic YouTube stars and social media influencers who can entertain and draw a crowd of kids and students to their platform. We don't need ministry leaders to try to do the same.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be the fullest of who you are or that good old-fashioned charisma isn’t important in next generation ministry, I’m just saying that these cannot be the only things that are driving your ministry.

If you think the effective church of the future will be able to hang on the personality or speaking ability of a person, you’re missing the point. For the generation of leaders who are now leading (like me), the charisma of leaders and “cool” factor of the experience was enough to pique interest. But this generation is growing up with unrivaled access to the greatest entertainers on the planet.

Personality can’t be our knockout punch anymore.

Instead, we need to be leaders who put as much emphasis on strategy as we do charisma. We should be inspiring but we should also be focused on playing the long game of building a sustainable ministry. One that continues helping kids and teenagers own their faith, far beyond our tenures.

Are you building a ministry that will last beyond your personality? Are you hiring leaders or developing volunteers for how they think or simply how they speak? The local church needs more leaders who are willing to dive into the deep end of strategy and have thoughtful and nuanced dialogue about the best methods, means, and models of the local church for the next generation.

If you don’t have a strategy or have been banking solely on personality, it’s time to start thinking strategically. Charisma has a place in leadership but it’s only as powerful and effective as it is coupled with an effective strategy.

How much time do you spend strategizing methods for a new version of the local church (like digital reach, implementing daily faith practices, and vocational discipleship) rather than just an upgraded version of the current one?


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