Starting in January, we’re going to try an experiment that will give a few people on our youth ministry team an opportunity to gain some additional training and experience in speaking “up front” to teenagers. The books our teaching team will read together arrived in the mail this week, and it got me thinking about what other small things we could do in our youth ministry that could have a big impact on developing the adult volunteers on our team. Here are ten ideas for developing leaders on your youth ministry team:
Ask others to speak/teach once a month. Whether you put together a teaching team like we’re doing or you simply make sure someone besides you is “up front” once a month, handing over the teaching time to others will give them the opportunity to grow in the area of speaking.
Have a volunteer lead a game. You might be the youth pastor, but you don’t have the corner on games. Ask a volunteer to lead a game or activity at your next event or youth group.
Take a leader to school. If you visit a high school campus or go to an athletic event at a school, take a leader with you.
Have a leader join you in a meeting with a student. If you’re meeting with a student, as him or her if it’s okay for another leader to join you.
Have small groups. Most youth pastors I know would say to this suggestion, “My youth group is a small group!” Whether you’re at a large church or a small one, small groups give your volunteers (who should be leading your group) the permission and empowerment to shepherd the students in their group.
Ask your leaders their opinion about important decisions. Help your team understand the framework for how you make decisions, and invite them in on the process. They’ll learn how to put vision first when planning events or making changes.
Don’t order the pizza. You might have the local pizza joint’s number memorized and know how to get the best deals, but let one of your leaders make the call, shop for an event, or reserve the bowling lanes.
Let a leader do announcements. Again, you don’t have to do it all. Challenge a leader to find a creative (and effective) way to deliver announcements.
Give a leader a $10 Starbucks card. Tell them they have to use it for having coffee with a student.
Ask your leaders to pray for you. Share specific prayer requests about your personal and ministry life. It will model humility and vulnerability, and it will give them a glimpse into some of the challenges of being a leader.