There are few things more integral to the success of your ministry efforts than building a youth ministry leadership team that “gets it.” That’s why Gospel Advancing Value #3 zeros in on the critical importance of nurturing alignment among your leaders so that they fully embrace and model the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry.
But how do you get your team aligned? By investing time in leadership development!
Leadership development provides a wonderful opportunity to cast vision, provide relevant training and bring your entire leadership team into the prayer and planning process. Yet, this will require meetings. And meetings are often dreaded by our teams and even by us… Are they really that important? What will we say? Are they worth the time that it takes to do them well?
Here are two keys that address these concerns and offer a roadmap for creating leadership meetings that energize your entire team.
1. Infuse Value
Your goal should be to infuse so much value into your leadership meetings that they become a ministry highlight. With the right amount of effort upfront on your part, no one on your team should ever walk away from a meeting thinking, “That was a waste of my time.” Your leadership meetings should overflow with opportunities for vision casting, team alignment, skills training, prayer, planning and fellowship. Below you’ll find some practical suggestions for how you might structure these elements into your leadership meetings.
Vision Casting and Storytelling. Casting vision regularly is super important, because it gives you an opportunity to share from your heart about the direction that God has impressed upon you as their leader. This may seem a little awkward initially, but know that as the leader, your team is looking to you to provide direction. This may be your only platform from which to convey your vision. (You can try email, but honestly, it’s really hard to share conviction and passion in an email.) So capitalize on this opportunity. Fold in stories of students’ changed lives to illustrate your Gospel Advancing vision. Stories of transformation provide encouragement and inspiration, particularly if your volunteers are experiencing a season of doubt or struggle. Hearing about the impact that the ministry is making can be the difference between energizing an amazing leader and having a hole to fill the next week.
Try This! ❯
Check out Dare 2 Share’s free Gospelize Your Team video series and start using it as the Leadership Development training for your adult leaders.
Training. After you open with a time of casting vision and sharing inspiring stories, it’s time to provide some relevant training. One easy option to help build team alignment is to show Dare 2 Share’s free 12-part Gospelize Your Team video series. Each video includes a practical action step your team can take immediately. Other training options include building practical, relational skills like how to respond when teens share something in confidence, how to facilitate a small group effectively, how to appropriately interact with teens through social media and how to address topics that are prevalent in teen culture from a Christian worldview. Don’t try to cover every issue at once, just unpack one training topic a month. Your leadership team will be both encouraged and equipped.
Praying and Planning. After the training time, depending upon the size of your ministry, have each of the areas of ministry (worship, games, small groups, hangout time, greeters, transportation, etc.) meet individually to pray and plan. The basic agenda for this last section of the leadership meeting is to spend time in intercessory prayer and then to plan for the next four to five weeks of ministry so that everyone is on the same page and that holes are covered. This gives a ton of ownership to the volunteers in their area of ministry and enables them to add their own personality within the vision of the ministry.
Prepare and empower your key leaders to run the prayer and planning times within their smaller teams. It might be wise to consult ahead of time with these key leaders about what needs to be addressed during this time. As the youth pastor, your role is to identify where you are needed the most and spend some time there.
2. Remove Obstacles to Participation
Everyone is busy. It’s a truth of life today. But people find time for the things they value, so don’t apologize about asking your leaders for their time for the sake of your students. Do your best to find the “least bad time” for your leadership team to meet regularly, and then go for it with enthusiasm. For many youth ministries that have a sizeable pool of volunteer staff, a monthly meeting on a Sunday may be that least bad time.
Everyone is busy. It’s a truth of life today. But people find time for the things they value. Click To Tweet
Identify the obstacles to participation that will likely come up, like food and childcare and do everything in your power to address these issues. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your team to participate in your leadership team meeting. It will take a bit of work on your part, but it will be worth it. So if childcare is an issue, recruit a childcare team to help. If you can’t find people who will volunteer to watch the kids, you might want to set aside some of the youth ministry budget to cover the cost. If food is an issue, recruit a team of volunteers to provide a meal.
These meetings should be kept to 90 minutes. Vision/stories, training, and prayer/planning can each be given a 30-minute timeslot. It keeps things fast paced. (Hint: if food’s involved, launch into your vision casting and storytelling while your team is still eating to maximize your time together.) Student leadership teams can be incorporated into the meeting too, occasionally or routinely, depending on your context. It requires a little extra planning, but their insight into the ministry is very valuable. Plus, they’ll benefit from the vision casting and training aspects of your meetings.
A Gospel Advancing DNA Transfer
Your Leadership Development meetings are your vehicle to infuse the DNA of the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry into your team. This DNA transfer will provide an incredible sense of unity through a common vision and will help keep your weekly youth group times focused on maximizing the spiritual impact of all you do.
With a strong team trained and in place, you won’t have to do everything. Your excellent leaders will be more than capable of pursuing the vision even when you’re away on vacation!
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on resource in your inbox!