Networking To Reach Teenagers For Christ
By National Network of Youth Ministries
The Everyschool Alliance
- The National Network of Youth Ministries - through its member ministries,
is made up of more than 25,000 fulltime youth leaders, 175,000 adult volunteers,
2.5 million students and thousands of local churches and youth organizations.
There are more than 700 local networking efforts taking place. Together,
we already have a presence in the communities of all 56,000 schools we seek
Since there are many churches and youth organizations often represented
at each school, we must cooperate if we are going to succeed at sharing
Christ with every teenager. Youth workers should also model that same kind
of unity and cooperation by networking in the community.
The purpose of networking on a campus and in a community is to foster...
RELATIONSHIPS (Who we are) which are built on prayer, encouragement, and
This results in...
STRATEGY (What we do) including the sharing of resources, cooperative training,
combined events, and discovering a plan to reach students on every middle,
junior high and high school in our area.
Commission ... Cooperation... Cord
There is a strong biblical basis for cooperative ministry. It is vital that
the Church - the body of Christ focus its efforts on fulfilling the Great
Commission together in each community. It shows our obedience to the command
of our Lord. Linking together demonstrates the heart of God as reflected
in Jesus' prayer in John 17:20-23: "May they be brought to complete unity
to let the world know (NIV) It is wiser to combine our efforts than to work
alone. Solomon wrote, 'Two are better than one, because they have a good
return for their work ... a cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9,12 (NIV)
So where do you start?
Here are some networking basics, as shared by experienced coordinators of
youth worker Networks. Most of these principles also apply to students working
together on a campus.
Take the Lead
A movement needs passionate leadership - one or more people with a vision
to fulfill the Great Commission in your area. This person might not be a
youth worker, but has a burning desire for every young person to get a chance
to respond to Jesus Christ.
Clarify Your Vision
This begins - and continues with prayer'. Ask God to make His plan clear
for reaching your community. Then write it down in a mission statement as
a starting place for your Network. Habakkuk 2:2 says, 'Write down the revelation
... so that a herald may run with it." (NIV) Ask God to lead you to others
of like mind, and pray with them for clarity.
Build a Team
As you pray, expect God to help you establish a care group of others who
"own" a similar vision. Continue praying together about what He wants you
to do. Get to know one another personally, allowing barriers to break down
and trust to grow. Your relationships will be increasingly personal as you
pray for and encourage one another. Many groups find their praying is more
effective when they intercede for schools or churches on site. Try "prayer
walking" at each target campus. Be creative!
Grow a Strategy
As you pray; God will reveal specific plans to help fulfill your vision.
He will show you what to do! This may include any of the following:
-Monthly Network meetings
-Student leadership training
-A citywide outreach event
-Concerts of prayer
-Youth worker training (volunteers and paid)
-Expanding your prayer base
-See You at the Pole or other student prayer strategies
-Establishing student-led Bible clubs
-Plans to establish ministries to every school
Everything your Network does should ultimately help fulfill your purpose:
to build up the body of Christ - on and off campus - so that every student
can be exposed to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your Network
will probably not say "yes" to every youth event that comes along - that's
okay! Pray and ask God for discernment to keep your movement on track with
what God wants you to do.
The National Network of Youth Ministries offers membership for youth workers
and resources for those who coordinate Networks. To receive membership applications
or the Coordinator's Manual, call 1-800-FOR-NNYM.
Expand Your Base
In your community, God has already placed His people in key positions to
help fulfill your vision. Keep expanding your team to include other concerned
adults with a heart to reach every student. God knows the big picture. Ask
Him to lead you to them. Ask, 'Who are the people in this city that are
ready to participate in this vision?"
These may include:
-Other youth workers - paid and volunteer
-Men's groups (such as Promise Keepers)
-Women's groups (such as Moms in Touch)
-School personnel (administrators, teachers, coaches, etc.)
-Community organizations (DARE, MADD, YMCA, etc.)
-Business people (individuals, or service clubs such as Rotary, etc.)
Work Your Plan
If the goal of presenting the gospel to every young person will be reached,
it will take steady effort by a Network in every school, city, town or county.
Keep that vision at the forefront of all you do. Come alongside student
leaders with regular training and encouragement.
Unfortunately, most Christian student leaders report that they feel they
are "on their own" with little support from their youth leaders. Yet most
believe they are trying to apply the things they are learning in their youth
group! Some Networks sponsor monthly or even weekly training times for leaders
from multiple schools to come together to exchange ideas, pray together
and be nurtured by caring adults.
A Network's momentum ebbs and flows - don't be surprised when it happens
to you! Networks that last realize they are in a spiritual battle, keep
their focus on the target, work through obstacles and adapt to change. They
reinvent themselves as necessary to continue reach mg out to every student
in every school in their community.
Is there is a functioning Network in your "Jerusalem"? How about in your
Judea - and Samaria? How could you use your influence to encourage or help
launch a Network in other communities or schools near you? These same principles
could be used to establish a movement there.
As cooperation spreads across the nation, the vision to see Every Student,
Every School and Every Community reached for Christ will become a reality!
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.
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