I had a good conversation with a regional youth-ministry guru. He's putting on a one-day training seminar on relationship building in ministry and has offered to let me ride up with him to talk about the ministry I lead. It was encouraging - at one point when I was describing the parent problems I've been having, he asked how long I had been here. I said "about 10 months" and he said "sounds about right then," meaning parent problems always crop up when the honeymoon is over. He asked me what my vision is for this youth ministry, which is honestly a little hard for me to articulate because that question almost always entails "what does the program look like?" and I neither know nor particularly care. That's not true - I care a great deal, I just don't know what external stuff is going to produce the internal results that I want. Which are, basically, a thriving, deep faith that is steeped in prayer, oriented towards true worship, well acquainted with the Bible and actively seeking to advance the Kingdom. I don't want to entertain and I certainly don't want the biggest program in town - I just want to take the kids who want to grow and fan their flames. And for those who don't, or are just sitting on the fence, I want to start sending some sparks their way to see if they're combustible.
So how would you do it? (Or how does your church do it?) What do you think would be the priority? How would you structure things? Where would you begin?