A disciple multiplication strategy takes time to develop. Like onions, ogres have… I mean, youth ministries have layers… Think about it.
You have follow-up, baptism, classes, games, events, curriculum, parties, outreach, adult and student leaders, and the list goes on and on. To truly be gospel advancing, then, all of these areas must be focused on THE Cause.
This can be an overwhelming task, but you don’t need to tackle all of this at once. Being a Gospel Advancing Ministry doesn’t mean you have everything figured out, rather, it is a commitment to Christ and His Cause. Let’s focus on one area this week: Adult leaders.
Try This! ❯
Keep a pulse on whether your adult leaders are having substantive spiritual conversations with your students by inviting them to share about their student interactions.
Adult leaders can be the glue of youth ministry. With the right motivation, training and empowerment, they have the potential to multiply your influence. This is a huge key to creating a disciple multiplying strategy. But how do we get leaders to live out disciple multiplication? Here are five key steps that will help you develop disciple-multiplying adult leaders.
1. Paint a clear picture of your youth ministry and your mission.
Most leaders wanting to serve in youth ministry have no idea what they are in for. Youth are loud, spontaneously rambunctious and sometimes flat-out crazy. This can overwhelm a lot of rookie leaders who thought helping the youth group would look like a calmer version of a big brother or sister program—sans the socio-psychological challenges that usually accompany teenagers’ enrollment in those kinds of secular mentoring programs. Adult leaders need to have a clear understanding of what your youth ministry is about.
Try taking potential leaders out for coffee, and give them a candid rundown of what your youth ministry looks like. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve inherited leaders, or you have leaders who don’t quite “get it,” then cultivate some one-on-one time with them. Aim to inspire by helping them see how they can better fit into the youth ministry.Like onions and ogres, youth ministries have layers. Pick one layer to focus on improving. Click To Tweet
2. Integrate them into the youth ministry.
Like the first day of high school, adult leaders are going to be nervous during their first day serving. They don’t want to overstep any boundaries and aren’t always certain of what they should be doing. Help them out by giving them a pre-assigned task like running the game or co-leading a discussion group. Introduce them to some of your key students. Help them ease into the youth ministry by creating a path for them.
3. Develop your youth leaders.
Don’t assume all of your leaders are spiritually mature. While it should always be a goal to choose leaders who have a passion for youth and a strong understanding of Scripture, you can’t always find leaders who possess every quality you’re looking for. Don’t freak out. Instead of getting frustrated or rushing to the conclusion that your youth ministry is failing, take the time to develop your leaders. One way of doing this is by going through a book together on youth ministry leadership. Trainings are a great way to inspire or reinvigorate a ministry that is struggling with discipleship multiplication. Consider going through Dare 2 Share’s GOSPELIZE Your Team training videos for leaders. Together, you can learn about the seven values for a Gospel Advancing Ministry, and brainstorm ways to better implement them into the ministry.
4. Have leadership meetings.
Leadership meetings provide a great way to gauge the health of your youth group. Remember, adult leaders help multiply your influence, but they also provide youth with an extra set of eyes and ears. Take some time each week to allow your adult leaders to discuss the conversations they are having with the students. This puts positive pressure on all the leaders to stay focused and always concentrate on discipleship multiplication. And it helps you keep a pulse on whether your adult leaders are actually having substantive spiritual conversations with your students.
Leadership meetings also provide a great opportunity to come up with new disciple multiplying strategies. For instance, when my own youth ministry was working on relational evangelism, we had a brainstorming session during our leadership meeting before youth group. We discussed the growing need to stay connected with our students after youth group, and one of the leaders came up with an idea to start a mobile student group through the app groupme, a group text-messaging app for Android and iOS. After our meeting, we rolled out the strategy to promote the group. Students signed up and have been using it to stay in-touch with us, as well as each other.
5. Give them freedom.
Encourage your adult leaders to meet with students outside of the ministry. Give them a gift card for a local coffee house so that they can invite students to hang out with them. If you don’t have any resources to give, then have them meet up at a park or mall. Be aware: there are some precautions you need to take if leaders meet with students outside of the ministry. Make sure… they are in a public place and that the parents have given consent for the leader to hang out with their student. You don’t want to fight any legal battles, so have a background check on all of your leaders and pair them up with students of the same gender.
Developing an intentional strategy will help guide your disciple multiplication efforts—just keep in mind that it is going to take time. Don’t get overwhelmed by how much change is needed within your student ministry. Instead, take small, prayerful, incremental steps and focus on one thing at a time.
Remember that your end goal is mobilizing your students to make disciples who make disciples. What better way to get your students on board with this mission than to see it modeled effectively by the adults in your ministry?