There are four levels to youth ministry. One of them is the leader level. This level involves inviting, equipping, supporting, and developing the women and men, staff, and volunteer, who are doing the youth ministry work (including yourself). Here is one thing I’ve found help with that and two that don’t.
- Cohorts. I’ve written here before about the Youth Ministry Coaching Program cohort I participated in. I had such a positive experience with it that I helped launch one. I have *nudged two colleagues to join coaching cohorts, and I’m getting ready to host one next fall. They are short enough (one year) yet rigorous enough (two days of work at a time) to allow for focused, measurable development work, and their emphasis on peer feedback is so, so valuable. Love the cohort.
- Vague tools. Curriculum that lacks specificity and that leaves learning objectives up for interpretation will not be received by most volunteer leaders as liberating, but rather insufficiently specific to be useful. When we are developing materials for leaders to use with students, they should spell out their aims in concrete terms, and they should spell out their processes in detail: do this, then do this, next say this, and so on. Leaving it up to leaders doesn’t help.
- Lunch. The “Y’all come” monthly lunch for youth leaders is nice (who doesn’t like lunch), but it doesn’t look like a great use of peoples’ time to get everyone who is working with any students of any age together at the same time without a clear learning or working agenda. It’s probably better to schedule lunches (or breakfasts) with the specific teams of leaders who are working on the same thing. The issues addressed will be limited to things that can be usefully worked on in the short term.
I love this level of youth ministry, and I want to get better at it. What is your favorite tool for developing leaders?