My former colleague ran a great series of trainings for her Sunday School volunteers she called “Confabs” that happened about three times a year. They were hands-on, instructional, and interactive. The staff got as much out of them as the volunteers.
With a nod to Krista Wuertz, then, I’m planning a “Confab” for all of our youth leaders next August. The Doodle poll went out this week.
Tell me what you think of this: we need to be developing as leaders in three distinct areas–skills, knowledge, and connections.
We need to sharpen our youth ministry skills for designing Bible studies, leading small groups, conducting large group games, and a host of other things that effective youth leaders do well. These are the things that most intimidate prospective leaders, who say things like, “I don’t know how to work with teenagers.” It’s not rocket science. This is how.
We also need to broaden our knowledge of adolescent development, social media, theology, Bible, and emerging cultural postures, so that our work with teens is informed and so that it can change in response to new learning or deepening reflection.
Finally, we need stronger connections to one another as leaders. That’s a matter of development, because so much youth ministry work proceeds from the relationships enjoyed by the adults doing the work. A huge part of what makes Tapestry effective, for example, is the community of leader relationships that expand and grow. Developing youth leaders means connecting them more deeply to one another; isolated leaders aren’t effective.
I’m putting the Confab together now, so I’m eager to hear what you guys think about this and to learn of material you find useful in leader development work.