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Behind Youth Ministry Leadership Door # 3 is a season where ALL your volunteers are leaving at the same weekend. Seriously, in three weeks I went from eight great volunteers in our junior high ministry to ZERO, 0, nadda, not a one left!

Now this isn’t a complete blindside surprise, and we’ve known it for almost this whole fall. I have eight great college students who’ve been serving in this ministry and they are all moving on in their lives. Some are moving because of jobs they’ve secured, fire academy training, or leaving a local junior college for a university setting.  

As I’ve been watching this transition it’s been clear that this has created a unique tension in our ministry in several ways. The students know it and feel it. They’ve already started to ask who is going to be around after Christmas as volunteers, and some students are really sad because of the connection they’ve made to these leaders. I personally won’t have the same dependable crew around anymore. Some of the last-minute favors I’ve called in won’t be able to happen, and I’ve got to train a whole new batch of volunteers to get them up to speed.

So how have I handled and tried to prepare for this change?

  1. We started communicating to parents and leaders in our church back in September that we’ll need more volunteers. This has been a constant message to our parents and church leaders, purely to keep it on their radar.
  2. I’ve asked many people to pray about stepping up to serve in January.
  3. We’ve been very honest with students and parents that our ministry will undergo some changes.  Some of these changes may be comfortable and some may not, but be ready for them.

I’m watching this change happen and I’ve found myself oddly excited about it. I’m excited to get new eyes and energies involved in our student ministry. I’m excited about the idea of different leaders who will bring something entirely different to the ministry to mentor our students. I’m also excited about the challenge I’ll have in training new leaders, because with new leaders means going back to basics, evaluating and leading a ministry with what you have…not what you wish for.  

Sometimes as leaders we think our ministry is in a different place than where it really is. Having new perspectives from new leaders is going to reveal things to me that I’m not seeing, and as a leader I value that.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried. I don’t want to see the momentum our ministry has die or get stalled, but I’m also in a place where if I don’t trust God on this, then everyone’s in big trouble!

So what leadership challenge is behind your Door # 3 this season? How are you preparing for it?

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