Let me give you three practical points to help you in this area: 

  1. Pray: Create a prayer team in your ministry who intentionally prays for local businesses and their owners. Do not hesitate to let them know of your desire to see them succeed. Actually, let them know of your prayer team. Take the time to make a prayer guide and ask these individuals how you can pray for their business.
  2. Play: Is there a local Lion's Club, Rotary, or Chamber of Commerce in your community? These civic organizations are made up of local professionals who tackle community issues all the time. Join them in their work. Serve on their committees. You will end up playing together and building important relationships.
  3. Plan: Many youth ministries are viewed as teens who take more than groups that give. Your local businesses have projects that you could possibly assist with. Perhaps there buildings that need painted, lawns that need mowed, or sidewalks that need swept. Your ministry should plan to help with those needs free of charge. 

Rob Smith taught me to pay attention to my image. In order to accomplish this I had to watch life: my ways, my words, and my wardrobe. My unwillingness to consider people's perception of my personal behavior would have been much like holding on to the childish things Paul talks of in today's text. 

While teens are our target audience, there are countless individuals in the community who can impact their lives. Those people listen to other's perceptions of us and the youth ministries we serve. It is time to start paying attention to what they are saying. Our commitment to professionals and professionalism will have an long-term effect on the work we do in God's Kingdom.

Pray about that today and remember that youth ministry is all about relationships.

© 2004. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint may be obtained at request@onepassion.com.
Timothy Eldred is the President of One Passion Worldwide (OPW) in Branson, MO and the founder of 1:1 SolutionsSeminars. While he travels extensively teaching principles of relationship-based ministry to churches, he continue to serve as the Teaching Pastor of New Beginnings Christian Family Fellowship in Six Lakes, MI. Tim resides in Edmore, MI with his wife, Cindy, and their two sons.
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