In my youth ministry days, I firmly believed in a tactic called “Event-Based Ministry.” The basic premise of the concept is that you create an event, invite youth to that event, and then connect/minister to them while they are there. There can be some detriments to orchestrating these events; they require a lot of intentionality and purposefulness. For instance, if you fail to incorporate the last two steps of invitation or connection (with connection being the most crucial part), it becomes like any secular event (birthday party, soccer game, video game night). However, if you are finding ways to invite and connect, a youth event becomes a place that creates its own atmosphere. An atmosphere that deepens relationships and allows for spiritual conversations.
Event-based ministry can get a bad reputation; frequently, it is used only for two metrics: numbers and “fun.” Neither of these is evil, but if it is your only justification for having an event, we need to discuss motives. Throughout his life, Jesus attended mealtime gatherings (events) with the purpose of furthering his ministry. Therefore, the event is not bad, but there needs to be a reason for it; we need to be intentional about why we are engaging with others around us.
As I prepared for these events, someone would invariably ask, “What happens if only one person shows up?” My response was always the same, “That would be awesome!” If only one person showed up, I would have more 1-on-1 time with that individual. I could connect with them in ways that built them up personally because the purpose wasn’t to have the largest youth group but to bring others to Christ. And I knew that this happens best in individual interactions.
However, that never happened; I have never had only one person attend any event. But that never changed my mentality. Because whether there were one or a thousand (which also never happened), my purpose was to connect to others and bring them closer to Jesus.
Every week, we all attend an event, our Sunday morning worship assembly; our question should be, “Who can I connect with and bring them closer to Jesus?” This profoundly personal thought process requires thinking about one person at a time. We bring others closer to Jesus in various ways; we can do it through praying with them, serving them, encouraging them, listening to them, and perhaps even smiling at them to let them know they are not alone. Generating this connection is Jesus’ desire for each of us. Whether it is one person or a million, there has to be something that will draw the world to God, and Jesus indicates it is our unity.
John 17:21-26 – “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them, and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
Whenever we gather, it should be to demonstrate “perfect unity.” It will be our distinction from the rest of the world. This notion of unity becomes muddied when we look at the varying fractions within the Christian community. Still, for our fellowship on a weekly basis, people should walk in to see that this is a unified group. And this happens when we are all seeking to show others Christ on a personal level. We accomplish this when we interact 1-on-1.

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