Does this complaint sound familiar to you? It can be frustrating to try and lead a youth ministry, only to get thwarted by your youth leaders who just donâ€™t seem to get it.
They donâ€™t get that theyâ€™re expected to focus on building relationships with the students
They donâ€™t get that they need to make an effort to stay up to date on teen culture
They donâ€™t get that as a youth pastor, you donâ€™t have the time to connect with every single student
They donâ€™t get that theyâ€™re the best method to recruit new volunteers
They donâ€™t get that theyâ€™re expected to show up at all events
They donâ€™t get that even though youâ€™re on staff, you canâ€™t do it all and thus had to cancel the retreat
Your youth leaders just donâ€™t get it. But do you?
Sometimes we forget what itâ€™s like to be a volunteer, to do what we do besides a full time job. We forget that our youth leaders donâ€™t have the same access we have to resources, that they donâ€™t have the time to read up on youth ministry blogs, or to watch the latest video gone viral. We forget that we have been in youth ministry for a long time, that we have learned and know exactly what to do and where our priorities should beâ€¦but they may be new and donâ€™t know whatâ€™s expected of them.
So if your youth leaders just donâ€™t get it, look at yourself first and ask yourself some honest questions:
- How well have you communicated your vision for the youth ministry? Do your youth leaders know it and support it?
- Have you made your expectations clear, do they know what their task as youth leader entails?
- Do you have any expectations that you have not communicated, that you consider â€˜normalâ€™ or â€˜self-evidentâ€™?
- Are your expectations realistic, given the amount of time they can dedicate to the youth ministry?
- Have you given your leaders the training they need to do their task well?
- Are you supplying them with the information and resources they need to excel in what they do?
- Are you investing time and energy in team building and motivating your leaders?
- Are you available to them when they need you, or is there someone else who they can go to with questions?
- Are you communicating your decisions well enough, so they understand why you do things?
Letâ€™s face it: when our youth leaders donâ€™t get it, more often than not itâ€™s our fault because weâ€™re just not communicating well enough. If you want your youth leaders to â€˜get itâ€™, to excel in what they do in your youth ministry, you have to invest more time in them. Make training, coaching and motivating your leaders a priority and youâ€™ll see that they will get it.
Rachel Blom is American at heart, Dutch in origin, but living in the south of Germany. Sheâ€™s a youth ministry veteran who has the passion to help youth leaders worldwide serve better through her blog www.youthleaddersacademy.com. Sheâ€™s a big fan of Twitter, where you can find her as @youthleadersac.