You survived the interview process, you moved to your new church, you are still unpacking boxes at home. You have sat in your nice new office and asked, “Now what?”. What is next for you?
I remember when I started it was me, myself and I. That is not the make up of a very good student ministry team. I learned rather quickly that I needed to surround my self with others who love ministering to students and to lead the way on building a team of volunteers.
Not having a team is a dangerous place to be.
Protection - you need to be protected from any allegations that could jeopardize your ministry or the reputation of your church. Never, never be alone with students. A team gives you that safety net for you, the church and the students.
Burn Out - you may start off killin it in ministry getting everything done, all details in order, planning great events but eventually is will catch up to you. You will get tired, worn out and find yourself in a physical and emotional place that just isn’t healthy.
Create a Culture - if you go for a year or two doing student ministry alone you will help create a mindset of “that’s why we hired you.” You’ve been doing great all along without any help why should we jump in and serve now.
Vacuum - when you serve alone you create a vacuum devoid of any input or advice from others who have the same passion to invest into students lives. Everything depends on what you come up with. Creativity can be stifled. This is why some youth pastors only last a couple of years at a church. Once their “bag of tricks” is empty they don’t know what else to do so they move on to a new church and start all over.
Build the Team
The List - compile a list of every possible type of volunteer your student ministry could use. Small group leaders, foodies, event planning, transportation, teaching material, tech, etc.
I have always wanted a grandpa and grandma to be at our front door and high five and hug students as they arrive and then to do the same when the students leave. Think outside the box. If I could have a team with everything . . . . You never know you might have some folks in your church who have incredible untapped talent and leadership skills to help you.
Eagle Eye - keep an eye out for the adults in your church who you see have an automatic connection to students. That young couple you see standing in the aisle after every worship service talking with teens, go to them and invite them to coffee and discuss the possibility of them serving with you. Let them know what you see in them and the potential that exists to impact the lives of these students.
Gather and Cast - gather together those who you think might have an interest in joining you on this adventure. Make some coffee and buy some really good pies (everyone loves to be fed good food). Have them over to the house for a meal. Then cast the vision of where the student ministry is going and your ultimate goal for a student’s life. Then let them know how they can be involved in helping change lives and disciple teens.
Share the Excitement - you are passionate about student ministry, that is why you do what you do. Some people may not be involved but when they see your passion and hear the exciting things happening they may jump on board. When we hear “Help!” we picture in our mind someone drowning. We don’t want to ask people to help. We want to invite them on an adventure.
I learned this at a Refuel Retreat with LeaderTreks: When someone in the church asks you how the youth group is doing don’t respond by saying, “It’s going great”. Respond by first stating your purpose in a sentence or two, then follow that with a 3 or 4 sentence story of something exciting that has happened recently.
Looks like this:
“Hey Andy. How’s the youth group?”
My reply would be, “You know we are reaching students to discover life in Christ. We took students on a mission trip and for a total of 6 weeks they worked though a quiet time journal. Billy asked me when he was done what he should do next and I suggested study the book of John. Billy journaled his way through John and has told me he is now in the book of Acts. We are seeing students growing in their faith. Will you join me in praying for Billy and the other students to continue to grow in their faith?”
This is like fishing. You throw out the bait and then you set the hook. If nothing else you will be spreading the excitement of what is happening in student ministry in your church. When people see something exciting they want to jump on board.
(my next post will be about arriving to an existing team of volunteers)