One of the keys to keeping new leaders and continually improving the skill set of your volunteer team is to keep them trained. Here are a few ideas to help you get your team ahead:
Take everyone to a conference

Few youth budgets in the world can handle the strain of flying a team of volunteers across the country to one of the large youth ministry conferences. But don’t be afraid to jump in the church van and drive to one that’s a little closer to home. That regional gathering one an hour away? Do it! The training event hosted by the church down the road? Get on it. Time in the van alone is worth the effort and expense of the event. You know a lot about youth ministry…but you don’t know everything. Take advantage of opportunities to expose your leaders to other training if possible.


Tips For Rookies & Veterans on
Leading Youth Ministry Small Groups


Start an online leader university
What if once a week you posted a blog to help train your volunteers? What if you created a YouTube channel that had quick tips and best practices for your small group leaders? What if you posted a quick training in a private Facebook group everyone could access. Start small, start monthly, and you might be surprised at what you create in a few years. Shoot…this is such a good idea we may need to try it ourselves!

Always have food at your trainings
Hosting a training night? Make sure you have food. Who knows why we Christians expect food at every gathering, but we do. Don’t fight it, just go with it. Your leaders are hungry for youth ministry education, but they are also hungry for steak and twinkies (yes, that is a combination we have served at one of our meetings) .

Create clusters
Training your leaders is essential – but don’t feel like you have to do all of the work. Divide your volunteer team into a few clusters and then assign a few veterans to oversee the clusters. Encourage these veterans to meet the people in their cluster for lunch or coffee for some informal training and encouragement. You might be surprised by how effective this type of relational training can be.

Tips For Rookies & Veterans on
Leading Youth Ministry Small Groups


Organize a “drop-by training”
Consider setting up shop at your local coffee shop for the entire day. Let your leaders know you’ll be there, and offer to buy them a drink and talk about their small group or role in your ministry for as long as it takes them to finish their drink. They can get a nice coffee break from work, and you get hyper caffeinated if you have a good turnout. In the down time crank out work on other projects that have been nagging you for the last few weeks.

Finally, train…but don’t over-train. You need to be an expert, but your leaders don’t. Don’t burn your leaders out by over-training them. Decide what you deem as the basics, train them in those areas and enjoy the ride!

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