Monday, June 9, 2014

Longevity Celebrated

Last night our youth ministry team met at a local Mexican restaurant to eat dinner together following our youth group gathering.  It was a “dinner meeting” but actually we secretly planned this to celebrate a win.  One of our teammates (we will just call her “Marie”) has served on the YM team for ten plus years.  We saw that as an opportunity to thank her for her ministry and to celebrate her longevity on the team.

  Marie is more of a quiet behind the scenes team member but Marie has faithfully sat down with a group of middle school girls each week for all those years and invested into those girls’ lives.  MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS!!!  Crowns in heaven for Marie.  We presented Marie with a certificate of awesomeness  and we dined and laughed together as a team.

Day after thoughts:

  • Longevity is increased as we celebrate milestones in team members’ lives.  It only helps encourage your team members and inspires everyone on the team.
  • Longevity benefits the volunteer.  They know what to expect and know their ministry inside and out.
  • Longevity benefits the students.  Some churches go through youth pastors like a kid goes through candy in a Pez dispenser.  Having long term youth volunteers is beneficial to the students.  Especially when their leadership changes every few years.
  • Longevity is a benefit to parents.  Parents can have some peace knowing that the youth leader investing into their kid’s life will be their through their journey in middle and high school.
  • Longevity benefits the youth pastor.  I know Marie and Marie knows me.  She knows how I click.  I know she likes her coffee black.  When we serve together for a long time we function better as a team.  Teams that function better together see more success in ministry.
  • Longevity is no accident.  I’m sure team members who have served for a couple of years experience that burn out feeling, disappointments, frustration with leadership, but the ones who stick it out through the rough patches experience the joy that using your SHAPE to serve Christ’s church brings.  The leader who has as a goal to keep volunteers on the team as long as humanly possible has to have a strategy or plan in place.  Days off for the volunteers, meet together, training, clear expectations, clear vision, "job" description, celebrating together, having fun together, all of these fit well into a strategy.

Of course none of this means anything if it’s “MY” youth ministry.  Yes their needs to be ownership but it needs to be team ownership and not one youth pastor’s or one volunteer’s youth ministry.

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