"We're better together" has been the slogan for the National Network of Youth Ministries for years.
Their heart is pretty simple, gather youthworkers (adults who love students) together in a local area for prayer, relationship, developing strategy and sharing resources.
The National Network exist to help youthworkers start and deepen local networks. If you care about kids and want to work together to reach and deepen them, someone from the NNYM staff would love to connect with you or you can check their web site for helpful information.
I have the privilege of serving on an advisory council for NNYM and just returned from our annual gathering in San Diego. The men and women on the ministry council are passionate about Jesus and the youth of our country. Spending time with ministry leaders from around the country is always personally encouraging and challenging. I grow as a leader when around great leadership and for that I'm grateful.
Of course I was challenged personally, but this year there were 3 themes I took away as it relates to student ministry nationally and the necessity for local networks.
We've lost our evangelistic edge
Ok, not everyone has, but it seems the drive to reach out to students on the middle school and high school campus has diminished. Personally I believe the best way to reach students far from God is to equip and inspire students who are close to God. As youth workers maybe we need to pull together and dream of how we can work together to see the gospel shared in word and deed.
Prayer is essential.
I heard someone say that prayerlessness is proclamation that we don't need God. We all know prayer is essential but do we make it priority? What might God do if we cried out to him on behalf of our students, schools and community? If youthworkers gathered in your area for no other reason than prayer that would be extraordinary.
Unity is important to Jesus
Jesus prayed for the unity of his people, that we may be one and he and the Father are one. I'm not sure what that may mean for you in your context but there really is no place for church or ministry competition. You battle and defeat ministry competition with relationship. Do you have it?
Recently several churches in our area gathered for worship. One of my favorite outcomes was the simple fact that students from my church saw me caring for and hanging with youthworkers from other churches. Who knows, maybe that night was a part of Jesus' prayer being answered.
Let me ask, are you in consistent relationship with other youthworkers in your area? I know you're busy and have so many parents and students to serve, but if you long to see the gospel go forth and transform the lives of students outside church walls in your area it just makes sense to connect with other adults who love Jesus and kids. And by the way, other youthworkers need you. (who knows, you may need them as well)
Maybe there's already a group meeting, if not create one, for the glory of God and the good of students.