People love clarity. When youth workers are confident in their direction, clarity truly helps them and their entire leadership team move forward. When we know where we’re heading and can clearly communicate that to people serving in our ministries, everyone can serve more confidently and effectively.
Here’s a short road map to clarifying the wins for your ministry’s leaders:
- Cast the vision—In order for people to know what to do, they need to know where they’re going. Small-group leaders want to be more than chaperones. They need to know they’re changing lives 60 minutes at a time. Adults who teach for you want to be more than just your vacation go-to. They want to know why your ministry exists so they can make an impact. The bottom line is that people want to exist for a reason. Give them compelling reasons, and they’ll serve their guts out.
- Show people where they fit in the vision—People might know what direction to go but still need clarity in their role to get there. Over the years, I’ve found that volunteers will drift away when they don’t understand why they’re involved in this ministry. People understand task. I hate turning people into tasks, but if I say, “Hang out with 10 different teenagers tonight,” my leaders will have 10 super-quick conversations and return to me in less than three minutes asking if anything needs done. In their mind, they want a task such as cleaning up pizza boxes, clearing the stage, driving the church van, and so on. In my mind, there’s no greater role during an event than hanging out with teenagers. How clear is the role you’re recruiting for? Do you have job descriptions for volunteers that answer, “How do I fit in that vision?” I love this post about creating one-sentence job descriptions.
- Follow up and fill up—Periodic check-ins are critical to encourage and make course corrections. This point ties back to the first one, about vision. Because vision “leaks,” we need to follow up with leaders and refill their vision bucket. In Leadership Axioms: Powerful Leadership Proverbs, Bill Hybels writes: “Some leaders believe that if they fill people’s vision buckets all the way to the top one time, those buckets will stay full forever. But the truth is, people’s buckets have holes of varying sizes in their bottoms. As a result, vision leaks out.”
Youth ministers try our best to drip in vision. But dumping a bucket on everyone’s head once a year can feel overwhelming. We’re in a constant process of encouraging leaders and reminding them why we do what we do. So dump the bucket but also remember to drip in vision all year long.
We drip in vision:
- Over coffee, at a meal, and on the phone.
- When we notice a leader living out the vision and acknowledge it privately to them and publicly to other leaders.
- In our communications (emails, newsletters, phone calls).
- When we talk personally and teach publicly. We create common language because language matters.
Leaders are more effective when they truly understand why they’re doing what they’re doing—and when they’re appreciated for doing it.
What would you add to this list?