I can remember attending Youth Specialties NYWC and feeling like a failure. I looked around and saw these youth pastors who had large teams of people with them. I had normally gone to YS alone because my volunteers couldn’t afford it or didn’t have the flexible time to go. I was jealous of these teams. They all wore their youth ministry shirts and experienced something together that I had to experience alone. It was so high school.
I’d like to say that years after that experience I now drag 10 adults with me to a conference every year but I do not. I have worked in primarily smaller churches (under 500) and at most, have had 6-8 volunteers serve with me as their ministry in the church, which is fantastic. Some of you may wish you had at least one other person to help you reach and teach kids for Christ. If you are pining for a team, like I was, let me relieve you of some of the misconceptions of what a team is not:
It does not have to be made up of 20 somethings hipsters
It does not have to meet every week for training
It does not have to wear the same shirt
It does not need to have a slogan or a name
It does not have to meet at the same time.
It does not have to be at every event.
It doesn’t even have to meet in person (on occasion)
A team is a collection of people who seek to accomplish a mission.
Here’s the good news: You get to define what kind of model of team works for your church and youth ministry and it does not have to fit any kind of expectations or trends.
So, what mental steps should we take to expand our definition of team?
Step #1 Ditch the loner mentality
I remembers saying audibly and mentally, things like, “I’m the only person who can do this , cares about this, called to do this, etc” and it only continued to isolate me from creating that team I wanted. I had to face the fact that I could not accomplish what God wanted to do on my own.
Step 2: See everyone as part of the team
Everyone from the pastor to the janitor and everyone in between is on my team, they just don’t know it. Other ministries in the church are also on my team and I am on their team as well. I see people in the church as allies to accomplishing what God has put in my heart for this youth ministry. If we are can fend of the feelings of territoriality and competition among ministries and keep our team circle open versus closed, we will be build out next level team much faster.
Step 3: Be flexible
Everyone on my team cannot be at every meeting, every event, etc. It is unreasonable of me to expect that of them. Instead, I have people in the church who do no not come to our monthly meetings but love to cook food, drive vehicles, go to concerts, etc. and it makes life much easier for my volunteers when I am not so hard and fast with them about being at everything.
My team is made up of all kinds of people.
There are Wednesday night people, Sunday morning people, special event people, camp people, outreach people and on and on it goes. Breaking the mold of what a team is and does is a great first step to building a next level team for your youth ministry.
What challenges do you face in building your youth ministry team?
Are they physical challenges or mental challenges or both?