Getting Past “We Can’t Have Worship, We Don’t Have A Band” Part I



I have had a worship band, of some kind, in every youth ministry I have served. I did not say they were all good worship bands, but they were bands. Some were better than others. None were worse, or more fun, than the band I led at a small church in Panama City.

I had taken guitar lessons as a teen and then taught myself all the basic chords and strums. I went thought chord books and played every chord in it whether I would ever use it or not. I put together a rag tag group of guys who were all just learning how to play an instrument. We were pretty bad, but you know what? It was worship. It was worship because our hearts were in it and we wanted to lead other to God through it.

Fast forward to today. I was reading some posts on our denom’s FB page and I found where one of our youth pastors was asking about worship and wether we should use a cd or videos. I could totally relate to his frustration because we are in a similar place. Some times your talent pool just graduates, moves on, or “takes a break”, which is fine but it still puts youth pastors in the position of selling a “new idea” of worship to our youth ministries.

If you have had good bands in the past, it’s harder to say (sell the idea of) “We’re going to play some cd’s tonight” or “We’re going to worship along with some videos for a season.” We Pentecostal folks love our lives bands. We love them because they entertain us and sometimes excuse us from entering worship ourselves because some one is doing it for us. But our DYD, Steve Mason, made a great point about using CD’s and videos

Honestly I think having a cd playing can be more effective than a worship band at times. I have a really good bands through the years but have let them take a break at times and used CDs to keep emphasis on what is important…Worshipping Jesus.

Why use CDs?

They are always in tune.

They never give attitude or pre-madonnas.

They are never late.

They sing the song perfect and

You know what you’re getting.

Students need to learn to focus on worshiping Jesus not the people on the stage. Create a culture and set a tone as the leader that says we are purposely and intentionally using CDs instead of “we have to do this”. – sharing “this is why we do this”.. At the beginning will help.

Wise words. It’s time we stopped feeling bad about how we worship and start feeling good about the why we worship. We have a God who loves us, saved us, and leads us to victory and wether we use cd’s, videos, or a live ban, God is worthy of our worship. God will never be insulted by our methods of worship, but he’s always been insulted by our attitude towards worship. Does Cain ring a bell?

I have been working on my own situation for the past 3 months and I’ll share what I have been trying to do tomorrow.

Tell me, do you worship to a live band? CD’s? Videos?

What do you do with a group who is committed to only one method of worship?

What have you done to turn attitudes around about your methods of worship?

Want more ideas? Check out my Three Part Series on Worshiping Without A Band



Do You Need A Ministry Mentor or A Coach?



Have you been asking, “Do I need a ministry mentor or a coach?” I have been in full time  ministry for 23 years and I still ask that question. I am working through the process for myself and thought I’d pass on what I am learning.

What’s the difference between a mentor and coach? I think mentoring is done by someone who focuses on working through personal issues to get results versus a coach which looks at what you are “putting on the field” from 5,000 feet and offers an unbiased opinion about whether our goals and our plan/strategy match up. Essentially, I think mentors work inside out and a coach works outside in.

For me, one way to determine if I need a mentor or a coach is to listen to my own whining. Yes, our sighs and groaning can tell us a lot about what we need, what we long for, like the kid who tells his parents, “I don’t have any friends.”. Good parents would read that as not only a longing for friends but for worth and they would have a talk with their kid.

I also think the answer to the question, “Do I need a mentor or a coach?” is found in the questions we are asking. I thought about my owns sighs and  groaning and put them into question form.

Mentor Type Questions

1. Who I can I confide in?

2. How should I handle this situation?

3. What do I do when loneliness hits?

4. What do I do with this failure?

5. Who will walk with me through this thing?

Mentoring is a two way street. We have to risk something to have a mentoring relationship. We have to be honest about where we are in life and brave about our shortcomings and failures. If we are saying that “no one will mentor me” maybe it’s because we don’t want a mentor, we just want someone to fix us.

Coaching Type Questions

1. How do I set up my small groups?

2. Where do I reach teens?

3. When should I plan my outreach?

4. Why should I do small groups instead of large weekly meetings?

Coaching is about mechanics. There may be some mentoring involved in your coaching but it’s mostly about technique, like a quarterback coach working on the three step drop or how to slide correctly so you don’t get crushed by a Linebacker or an oncoming Safety.

In the end, there is some coaching in mentoring and some mentoring in coaching. The questions becomes. “Which of these do I need in my life right now?” and “Where can I find one?”

We’ll discuss this more in my week long focus on mentoring and coaching.

At first blush, which do you think you need more of in your life right now?

What are the questions you have been whining about asking yourself?

Let me know what you think about the Mentor/Coach debate in the comments.

Oh, and all this week, I am running the Coffee for Comments Contest. Leave me a stimulating comment and you could win a couple of cups of coffee from Starbucks.

Click HERE for the next post in this series: Do Senior Pastors Make The Best Mentors?



Tips For Volunteer Training: Thinking Inside The Board Game Box



I  read an article the other day called “How To Teach Someone A Board Game“. It is a simple, short article; but I think if we borrowed the tips from this article we could teach our ministry volunteers faster, with less mistakes, and with a win for everyone in the end.

 Make Sure _________________________ Is Set Up Before You Start

Whatever I am going to teach (a hobby, a sport, etc.), I have a model, the equipment, etc.  ready so the person I am teaching can get their hands dirty with it. I think teaching ministry principles should be the same way. When I am teaching our volunteers I try to make sure everyone has the right equipment, the handbook, the technology, the map, whatever they need to be successful. Having what they need, when they need it, cuts down on wasted time, energy, and frustration.

Start With How To Win

If I’ve missed any  step in teaching/training process, I think it is defining the win off the bat. I may include it in my talk but defining the win early gets people think about the reward and the process of how they could do what I have asked them to do. I have worked in many churches and if they had told me what the win was (numbers, number of salvations, number of disciples in process, etc) it would have saved a ton of time and I may possibly have turned down some jobs if they could not articulate what winning was.

Walk The New Players Through a Typical Turn (and Round, if Necessary)

If we are teaching someone chess we have to teach how each of the pieces move, what is a check, and what is check mate. Details matter. I don’t think I spend enough time succinctly explaining how something works especially if it has a lot of moving parts. I can get wordy and enamored with the process instead of doing a proper walk through.

I was recently training some young adults to do middle school ministry and I shared how we will take the kids up stairs so I took them upstairs, I showed them how the room would be set up, etc. I had one young man who was supposed to lead the lesson that night and I i thought I had explained well enough how he should do it. He shared one verse of scripture and he was done. No kidding. Next time I will let him do the lesson with just me first and walk him through it.


It’s simple. The more you play something the better, or least the more familiar, you become with it. My son and I play a rules heavy game called Warahammer (the rule book is huge) and I don’t play it enough to be any good at it because I keep forgetting the rules. If I want my youth ministry volunteers to be any good at anything I have to let them play it enough to get good at it.

Just like playing a game with missing pieces is no fun, trying to do the ministry asked of you with missing instructions or tools is no fun either. Let’s try lightening the load and focus on a process that empowers instead of frustrates.

Would you say your method of teaching someone  to do something in your youth ministry is simple? Too complicated?

Think through the process you go through to teach a

– Sunday School teacher

– Youth Leader

– An intern

– A new staff member

– a small group leader

How to fulfill their role. Have you told them what the win is? Have you showed them how to achieve the win?

Tell me, do any of your processes need  a little streamlining? Which ones?

Let me know what you think about board game style training in the comments below or if you need help in training your team, I can help.

Why I Love Doing You Tube Videos For Youth Workers



If you have never seen any of my You Tube videos let me share what they are about. I have 4 Playlists on my YouTube Channel.

Real Time Training: Tips and Tricks For Youth Workers – When I get an idea or think about principle that may help you, I do a quick video and pass it on to you.

More Than A Youth Room: Designing Your Space On Purpose – Does your youth room need some help? Grabs some ideas from 9 video focusing on youth room elements.

The Tuesday Panic: Ideas For The Less Than Prepared Youth Worker – Over two hours hours of videos offering ideas for sermons, bible studies, game idea, and message illustrations.

Off The Shelf: Reviews and Interviews About Youth Ministry Resources – This channel is focused on bringing youth workers interviews with ministries that could add value to your youth ministry and my thoughts on resources I think are worth using. Close to three hours of interviews with authors, ministry founders, and resource reviews.

Check out a few video and if you like them hit the thumbs up button and then hit the subscribe button so you’ll know when I post a new video.

If you are wondering why I put so much time and effort into these videos, let me start by tell you why I don’t create You Tube videos for youth workers

1. I’m uber-good looking and I want everyone to know it.

2. I have tons of time to waste.

3. I enjoy all the comments, likes, and accolades.

I am obviously not doing it for any of these reasons, so why then?

1. I love to communicate new thoughts, ideas, and strategies to youth workers who can’t get it any other way. 

I don’t know how many youth workers are in Merica’ (that’s America for you who have not seen this video or know the definition) or the rest of the world for that matter,  but my guess is there are a bunch or youth workers who cannot get to a youth conference but still want some training. If a youth worker can easily access a video on their computer or phone and can walk away with one good idea during their busy day, good for them.

2. I enjoy the creative outlet.

I never want to become stale in my knowledge of technology or in my creative endeavors so You Tube offer me the chance to grow in both.

3. It helps me in my communication skills

You may not know this but I used to do radio back in the day. I co-hosted a show called The Saturday  Night House party for six months where we show cased new Christian music in the 90’s. I enjoyed the experience quite a bit but the show was short lived. Let’s just say we were ahead of our time.

If I have a subject and a time limit, I have to cut to the quick and get to the point. Youth workers, of all kinds, are busy people and I want to make the few minutes they do have for training short, simple, stout with tips and information.

How about you, do you look for youth worker training from You Tube?

What videos have you found that have helped equip you for youth ministry/ministering to teens?

5 Strategies For Following Up After Summer Spiritual Commitments

I am passionate about following up after kids make spiritual commitments. If a kid is inwardly compelled to go to an altar and commit his or her life to Christ, then I must be inwardly compelled to follow up after them to help them in their journey.

I understand that parents play the key role with their kids discipleship. Parents struggle to wear many hats from taxi driver to den mother to band booster. Chief discipler is a hat that, too often, falls to the back of the closet. Parents are in that unique role of managing family relationships and making family work. It’s a tough job and sometimes discipleship, in the formal sense of kids being students of the Word, is not a skill set many parents feel equipped to do. Rather than make parents feel guilty that they cannot get it all done (which they already feel) let’s lend a hand in an area we should be adept at.

Even though we only see a kid for two hours a week we still have some tools a parent does not have. We know how to take a kid from point A to point B as far as spiritual steps go, but we , like National Treasure, only have a piece of a map that can lead to a treasure of spiritual growth.

Follow up is crucial to spiritual growth. Attitudes towards follow up ranges from, “Well God will just do it.” to “I have 30 classes you need to attend in order to be a good follower of Jesus.”. I think there is a middle ground we can meet on.

If your kids have made some new commitments to Christ this summer, and I pray they have, I’d like to offer five follow up strategies you can use to help your students get the best start in keeping their commitments.

1. Make a Video

I just preached a camp down in Florida and a kid, who watched this video, told me afterwards that he never has a strategy after camp. His comment further deepened my commitment to help kids in the growth process. I won’t see these kids until next summer and this video is something they can go back to to refresh there memory about what they need to do to grow.

2. Written Material

In addition to the video, I wrote a five day follow up devotion they can download. I cannot make them do it, but the fact that they may not do it cannot dissuade me from providing it. I must give them a choice.

Whether you choose a book or choose to write your own material, offer your kids some kind of physical tool to help them set a course for spiritual growth. These kinds of resources are for kids who like to read, write, and like to see some physical path they can make progress on. Completing these kinds of tools also gives kids a boost of confidence.

Here are a few things I have written for our kids that may help your kids

God? What’s Your Status?: A 21 day Journal Through The Gospel Of John 

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer Journal


3. Face to Face

Schedule a lunch with these kids one on one or in groups of 2-3. Take them to a meal and ask them about how their commitments are going and ask how you can help support them.

4. Assign A Mentor or Accountability Partner

Communicate to kids that if they make a commitment to Christ, you are going to support them. This support may come in the form of a prayer partner or a weekly contact over a certain amount of weeks. I understand that anonymity is a directions many kids will want to take but we must be careful to remind them that spiritual growth does not happen in a vacuum. We need others to grow. We need others experience, knowledge, and passion, to help us along.

5. Text kids weekly scriptures

Put all the kids who made commitment this summer in a list and text them a scripture and a short encouragement. The amount of information consumed is not equal to the depth of spiritual growth. You don’t have to dump a ton of info on them. A short text communicates that you care and that you are praying for them. That may all they need to take the next step in their walk with Christ.


Host a 30 Days after Camp Reunion. Put it on the calendar to meet with just the kids who went to camp and have a service with them. Let them share where they are spiritually 30 days later. Let them reflect on the camp, the worship, the speaker, and the kind of commitment they made.

Set up the service by playing a game or two you played at camp followed by a few worship songs you sang at camp. I have a 30 Days After Camp Teaching if you would like to use it. You can e-mail me at and I will mail you a copy. You can grab a few more ideas in this video I created

One more bonus step: Offer parents tools to do the follow up at home. Check out my post on 7 Questions Parents Should Ask Their Kids After Camp

How do you follow up when kids make a commitment to Christ or to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord?

What is your process like?

What frustrates you most in the follow up process?

Tell me in the comments below.

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Youth Ministry Planning: What Is Your Past Telling You About Your Future?

past future edit


I do not normally post on Saturday but Ryan Latham made me. I’m just kidding. Ryan is closing out our week on Planning posts with a challenge to look back on last year to see if we can learn from the past to forge the future. Enjoy. 

I just got out of a meeting where we reviewed one of the events we did this week.  Before the meeting I didn’t see much need for it because the event went well and everyone was happy, but we try to always review our events, even when they go well!  During the meeting we celebrated the great victory that we had and encouraged each other.  We came up with some valuable improvements that will take our event to the next level; improvements that we would have missed had we not met.

Here are some ideas of what to cover during review meetings.

Make sure you have the right people at the table:

It is so important that you have the right people helping you review your ministry.  Andy Stanley says that the right person my not have the “right title” and the person with the “right title” may not be the right person to be at the table.  Click here to read more.

Celebrate the wins:

We often forget to slow down and celebrate the hard work that goes into making an event awesome.  So many of us are visionaries and are always looking to the next big event.  We need to understand that what happens after the event is just as important as the event.  Take some time and some money to celebrate together.  Thank people for their hard work.  We have all heard it said, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.”

Overall feel:

This is a big picture look at the event, not a time to examine the details.

  • Did people like the event?
  • How was attendance?
  • Any major mistakes?

Ask open-ended questions:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Why do you think these worked/didn’t work?
  • What did you like/dislike about…?
  • How can we improve?
    • Schedule
    • Promo
    • Budget


Communication is something that needs to constantly be talked about.  Often times we as youth pastors feel that we are over-communicating and volunteers and students feel like we are under-communicating or are unclear about our communication.   I encourage you to always talk about how to better communicate.

“What It Takes” form:

This is a 2-3 page form that details all the action steps, important contact information, goals, and timeline for all your events.  To read about making a “What It Takes” form, click here.

Staff retreat:

June or July is a great time to take a two-day retreat with your key staff and/or volunteers.  This is a great time of extreme focus to help you review, ask questions, set goals and gain vision for the year.

Look back, look forward:

There are three essential times when we review our past to prepare for our future; every June, every November, and after every event.

  • June:

In June we review the events from the year and submit the next year’s plans.  To learn more you can read, “HELP! No One Shows Up to My Events.”

  • November:

In November we review budgets from the previous year and turn in our budget for the next year.

  •  After events:

As part of our event planning we inlcude a review meeting.  This is a great time to bring out the “What It Takes” form and review and plan.  Write down questions that you want to bring up when you have a leadership meeting or at your next staff retreat.

Missed any of our posts on planning? Start HERE

Questions:  What does your past tell you about your future?  Do you have a SIP (System In Place) for review and planning?

From Planning To Executing: 3 Challenges To Getting It Done


You’ve just spent a few hours or a few days planning your fall program. To make this planning time valuable you have to execute these plans otherwise it was wasted time. Today’s blog post deals with getting things done so that the plans you have made do not go to waste.

Make your phone calls now

If you have to book rooms, buses, bands, etc, there is not better time to do them than now. I have seen my plans go up in smoke because I waited to call those parents to see if they could drive or because I did not buy those supplies I needed for that game. Great plans are dashed by poor execution. In their book Execution: The Discipline for Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan talk about the difference in leadership style and execution, and I summarize:

Leaders who lead from 50,000 feet, and never get their hands dirty, should not be shocked when plans do not executed.

Leaders who micro-manage a task to death should also not be shocked if a task is not executed well. It’s probably because you are in the way.

My Take:

Choose what is yours, and only yours to do, like making those phone calls, and then do it.

Delegate wisely and check in to see if your volunteers need help. Trust them, but verify that the task is getting done.

Put It Out There

Make a calendar of these events and get them out to parents, students, and the congregation. Let them know “This is Happening”. Declaring your plans means you are giving people a chance to decide to be a part and  to help make these plans happen. Getting your plans out there means kids can get excited and start talking about the events. Putting your plans out there means you may get some push back but that’s o.k. because it will test your convictions and fire you up to push through to succeed. Put it out there and then you work like crazy to fulfill what you have promised.

Go Ahead and Fail

Sometimes we hesitate in making our plans known because we might fail and we don’t want others to know we’ve failed. In my earlier days, I failed more than I succeeded. Guess what? I still fail. Things still do not go as planned. Failure is not the end. So what if this plan or that plan did not go through. Get back to the planning table as quick as possible and see if X program or event can be salvaged or how can you make lemonade from the lemons you’ve been handed (or grew yourself)

“In it’s most fundamental sense, execution is systematic way of exposing reality and acting on it.”- Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, from the book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done.

Interpretation: Do what you planned on doing and you’ll see if your organization is what you thought it was.

Plan well, but execute better.

For your entertainment

What is your greatest obstacle to executing your plans?

Do you hold back on big events or letting your plans be known because of fear? Why?

What one thing will you do differently this year to make sure your plans are executed?

Youth Ministry Planning: What It Takes


Ryan Latham brings some thoughts today about what it takes to plan. He includes a free form below as an example of what it takes for him to plan his Fall schedule.

One of the major reasons that we don’t delegate is because it is so hard to explain to someone all the details of putting together an event.  This leaves us, the youth pastor, DOING EVERYTHING OURSELVES!

A well-written “What It Takes” form will enable you to delegate better, with more effectiveness and more confidence.  Many times youth pastors don’t delegate because they have not gotten all that they know out of their head and onto a form that other people can run with.

Click to view a What It Takes example

Assign point people:

When you think through an event assign point people for each major areas.  For example: if you are running your own summer camp you may want different point people for food, worship, and administration.  Trying to find one person who can oversee all of those areas is very hard.

Set your goals for the event:

This helps keep everyone who is working on the event focused and informed.  When they call for hotel rooms they don’t have to come and ask you how many people they should book for.

Important contact information and links:

A lot of your leaders or volunteers will not know who in the church office is in charge of approving checks, or what paper work needs to be filled out and when.  They may not know that the paperwork is on a denominational webpage.  Contact information and links will save everyone a lot of search time!

Avoid making the same mistakes:

So many times we make the same mistakes over and over again because we don’t write down what the mistake was and we forget to fix it.  One problem that we ran into often was understanding the different types of forms that different camps required.  We would often have to rush to get signatures on an off-day, until we had a well-written “What It Takes” form.

Informed but not over-informed:

Make sure to write down all of the major information that is needed.  The “What It Takes” form should be 1-2 pages, not a 42 page dissertation on your event.  People are smart enough to know that if they need to download forms from the internet then they will need a computer to log onto the internet.  You don’t have to be that detailed.

Start with the end in mind:

Start at the end of the event and think about everything that you had to do and write it down.  Then think back about a timeline that might have been easier or less stressful.  Instead of having to drive over to your pastor’s house to get him to sign the check request, write down a deadline that gives you enough time when he is in the office.

Find a detailed person:

If you look at all this information and feel overwhelmed, then find someone who gets excited about mapping details!  Ask them to help you.  Have them start making the form and then ask you questions throughout the process.  Here is the great news: once you have this form you can use it EVERY YEAR!!!

Help! No One Is Showing Up To My Events

no one showed up-edit

Guest post today from my friend and blogger Ryan Latham. I hate when kids don’t show up for stuff. it makes me feel bad but it also makes me think “What could I have donee better?” That is where Ryan comes from today. We can all make our events a little better, if we thought like a parent, made our stuff more easy to find, and planned our stuff out better. Check it out and tell us what you think. 

Think like a parent:

  • How much will youth ministry cost for my student(s) to be involved?
  • When should our family plan vacation so we don’t miss YM events?
  • Parents are used to how the school districts communicate.  Schools are very much the same every year and the calendars are
  • published on the school and/or district websites (easily found) a year in advance.
  • As a parent of four kids, if they come home and say that they have a YM event that costs $50 each and it is this weekend, the answer is “no, we can’t afford that.”  If we know about it ahead of time we can plan and prepare and the answer is “yes.”
  • The youth ministry is not the only thing that kids are involved in.  Parents are trying to juggle school, church, sports, family, and other schedules all at once.
  • Most parents need to turn in vacation time 6-12 months ahead of time.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”  Alan Lakein

12 months loose: At this point you should have all of your major events on the calendar.  You may not have all of the details but you can write down “missions trip” even if you don’t know where it is at this point. Note: It is vital that you have the school district(s) calendar(s) in front of you while you plan. Don’t unknowingly plan a big event on the night of the high school prom and wonder why people don’t show up. It is also helpful if you can try to think through estimated prices for your major events.  It may be that students want to be there but it is just too expensive for them.  You can also see if your calendar is too full.  Maybe you have too many events back to back, or maybe you don’t have enough events.  Legendary youth pastor Jeanne Mayo says that often we lose newly saved students because they don’t have anything to do in the church.  She says, “He who wins is the one who spends the most time.” Turn this calendar in to your supervisor for approval.  This will help the church know when youth ministry events are and hopefully avoid your event being canceled because you didn’t get it approved ahead of time.

  • Sermon ideas
  • Big group of leaders help with ideas
  • Let’s talk about dating in February for four weeks with a big event around Valentine’s Day.

For information about how to lead a planning retreat with your team please read my post, “leading a summer review retreat.”

Leading a Summer Review Retreat

6 months outlined: For all your major events you should now have planning meetings set up, due dates, fundraisers, and promotional material planned.  This is also a good time to start assigning roles to your key volunteers.

  • Sermon topics
  • A medium group of leaders help with topics
  • February 5,12,19,26 we will talk about “Dating Without Mating” and on Feb 12th we will do “the dating game” illustration.

6 weeks detailed: You will want to plan which nights need creative elements and what type at this point. I know that most of us are writing sermons the night before we speak, but the more detail we can give our team ahead of time the more they can help find resources and material for our late night planning.

  • Sermon outlines
  • A small group helps with sermons
  • Dating Without Mating
    • Feb. 5, “Are you dateable?”
    • Feb. 12, “When healthy + healthy = unhealthy”
    • Feb. 19, “What Lady Gaga didn’t tell you.”
    • Feb. 26, “What happens when IT happens.”

With this much information you and your team can find dramas and other creative elements.

Evernote/Google Drive: These are great tools to help get your team involved in the creative process.  Read my post to help maximize your team’s involvement. [] Make your calendar information easy to find: We live in a world where if people can’t find your calendar within five minutes and three clicks it doesn’t exist.  We must make sure that our online information is easy to find and UP TO DATE!  I have often tried to find information about a YM only to find that their calendar is six to twelve months outdated.

“Frustrated people don’t usually ask for help; they just stop trying.” – Aaron Helman of

What is your plan or strategy to get more kids to show up for your events this fall?

What is your greatest frustration about failed events or about yourself in the planning of those events?

Don’t miss our whole week of Summer School for Youth Workers as we discuss Fall Planning. Check out yesterdays “class” HERE




5 Intangibles Every Youth Pastor Should Bring To The Planning Table


If you’re a rookie leader and you’re looking up the word “intangibles”, that’s o.k..,  I‘ll wait. I don’t think I knew what intangibles were either during my first few years of being the lead planner. I knew what curriculum were. I knew what calendars were. I knew what forms and paper work were, but many times I was woe-fully unprepared to lead my team. I knew I was lacking something. something I couldn’t see Intangibles are immeasurable qualities that our team needs us to have at the planning table.  As I grew, as a leader, I discovered what I needed to bring to the planning table. .

1. Patience

No matter how great our ideas are, we have to be patient and we must share our plan/vision with patience. Be patient with your team. They may have lot’s of questions like “Why are we changing?” and  “Where are we going to find the money for that?”. Try making a list of every questions you think you might get form your team and have an answer for it. Don’t be offended by the questions, use them to make the planning process even more useful. Patience, rather than harshness, will deliver the outcome you desire.

2. Humility

I participated in an in depth, year long, leadership program and, as many young men do, I thought I knew everything. I was the paid guy and everyone else was not. After both God and man humbled me and I got a clue that humility was the way forward to accomplishing our goals. I learned a few new phrases that helped in the planning process like, “What do you all think?” and “I have an idea, but I’m not sure…”. In other words, although I may have the best idea or the most experience at the table, I did not have to always show it.

3. Simplicity

I can complicate micro-waving popcorn. No kidding,  I can. That is why I need to bring simplicity to the planning table. I left my charts and graphs behind and started telling stories. Stories, unlike charts and grafts, are simple. Stories engage. Take your plan or vision and present it like a 30 second commercial. Ask your team to “Imagine this…”. Get your teams brains thinking in story mode and stay away from complicated mission statements, model charts, and paper work. Keep your plan/vision to one sheet of paper.

4. Confidence (not arrogance) 

Did God call you to where you are? Have you done your homework? Have you put in the time? Worked hard? Came early and stayed late? If you have, then bring that confidence to the planning table. Share what God has put on your heart. Confidence is more than bravado, it’s deeper than that. Confidence is not loud it’s quiet and sure. Need a confidence boost before your meeting?Pray and realize that God has placed you at the table “for such a time as this.”. Confidently share the plan you have and those around the table will put their confidence in you.

5. Be Flexible

You may have a good idea, maybe even a great idea, and your team may not buy into it, in fact, they may even hate it. I have fought and died on many hills not worth dying on for bad ideas. Telling the difference between these hills is critical to the success of your planning session. Decide ahead of time what your “flex points” are and what points you need to stay firmly planted on. Treat your planning meeting like Game Day, get your game face on, and walk in looking for a win-win situation and you will have a great fall planning meeting.

Would you like more training? Check out my Summer School For Youth Workers Series