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KurtJohnston

Kurt Johnston has been a youth pastor since 1988 and currently leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted voices in youth ministry, Kurt loves to encourage other youth workers and has written and created over 50 books and resources with that goal in mind. In his free time, Kurt enjoys surfing and riding dirt bikes in the desert with his wife and two children.

In my estimation, the best youth ministry is the youth ministry you give away. Today, as we continue our look at some team building basics, we are gonna talk about the power of empowerment.

Enlisting, Equipping, Empowering & Encouraging

 

Because there are no Lone Rangers in youth ministry, and because you are building a team to help carry the load, it only makes sense that you would empower your team to take the ministry ball and run with it. Let’s take a look at two types of empowerment, then focus on the one I think is most effective.

Empowering People To Fulfill YOUR Vision; To Run Your Plays:

There’s nothing wrong with this style of empowerment, in fact it’s the popular choice of leaders everywhere. If you are the leader of your ministry, you are responsible for the vision and direction of the ministry, so it makes sense that empowerment would take the shape of freeing people up to fulfill the various roles, duties and tasks that you deem important.  That’s good. But why settle for good when there’s a better way?

Empowering People To Fulfill THEIR Vision; To Run Their Plays:

This is risky. This may feel like I’m going to far out on a limb. But the best fruit is often found farthest out on the branch.

I’m not proposing you completely empower your team to do whatever they want. I’m not suggesting that as the leader of your ministry you shouldn’t create boundaries or lanes in which your team members should run. Here’s what I am suggesting:

Put leaders in a box….then expand the box!

Your team members need to be in a ministry box; there need to be boundaries, expectations, values, etc.  When they are young, brand new to youth ministry, or brand new to your specific church the “box” they are in is fairly small; they don’t have a whole lot of freedom to roam around. But as experience and trust grows, you “expand the box” a little bit, empowering them to dream, experiment and roam around a little bit.  The walls of the box (mission statement, church theology, safety policies etc.) haven’t changed, but there is a little more freedom for the veteran team members to have ideas of their own, run their own plays etc.  as long as it still benefits the ministry as a whole and doesn’t work against it.

The best kind of empowerment is the kind that explains the non-negotiables, then allows team members to dream, create, experiment, succeed and fail within those boundaries.

Put leaders in a box…then expand the box!

 

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