Creating a Healthy Team Dynamic
[bctt tweet=”I call all of our volunteers LEADERS, because that’s what I expect from them.” username=”ys_scoop”]
They’re not babysitting—they’re leading in our group. And I think everyone who oversees a ministry has the heart to develop leaders. We know that when we have healthy teams, our youth groups will be happier and healthier. I personally struggled in this area in a couple of different ways: First, I thought I didn’t really need leaders that much—sure, they definitely connected with students, but overall I thought we were fine. Second, I had no idea how to raise up leaders. I didn’t have any special training. I had to learn through trial and error—and in my experience there was a lot of error. I’m still learning in this area, but I now see the importance of a healthy team, and I’ve become very passionate about it in the last six months.
There’s an old saying “As the leader goes, so goes the organization.” A healthy team dynamic starts with the person who oversees the group. If you think you can run a one-man show, you won’t be able to create a healthy team. The reality is that God has not made any of us to be a Swiss Army Knife that can do it all. And if you try, you will find it to be slow and frustrating. You may see people around you growing more quickly, reaching more people, and having a greater impact on the city you serve in—these people serve from their gifting. Know where you’re gifted, and focus on that. And help your team use their gifts—you are better together. Here are some ways to make that happen:
Spend time with your leaders.
We hold monthly leader meetings where I get some pizza and soda and we take time to talk about youth group. We’ve been doing this for a while, but in the beginning we struggled—we were either having too much fun connecting, or we were incredibly bored as we went over the information we needed to cover. So we set up a system to help balance this out. We begin our meetings with connection time during which we talk about what’s going on in our lives. We also take time to celebrate the work we see Jesus doing in the students. Then we tackle business: we look at which leaders will be at youth group and who is out of town, important events we have coming up, camps, etc. And we end with encouragement. I look over the past month and pick one thing my team has done that has blessed me, and I spend time thanking them and telling them how much their contribution means to me and to the students.
Have clear expectations for your leaders.
[bctt tweet=”If you’re expectations are unclear, that will lead to frustration for you and for them.” username=”ys_scoop”]
Communicating your expectations to your team is very important. If you’ve ever served on a team where there was no direction, you know it can feel isolating, confusing, and ultimately pointless. It’s also frustrating for the one in charge of overseeing the group. If you don’t properly communicate with your leaders, it can seem as if they lack commitment, and the work they do will fall short of your expectations.
Give your leaders purpose that fits.
Good leaders will come and go, but one of the ways you can keep good leaders around longer is by giving them real purpose. If your leaders don’t think they’re important, they won’t make the connections you hope they will. Some questions to consider: What kind of roles do your leaders have? Are they helpers? Babysitters? Volunteers? Leaders? Is what they do valuable? Not every leader is the same. Some leaders are not meant to lead small groups, but they have a heart to serve behind the scenes in setting up, tearing down, cooking, cleaning, or praying. Find out what your leaders love to do, and put them in those roles.
Give your leaders a voice.
Your leaders have a perspective that you do not, and they should be allowed to have a voice. You have to make the final call, but it’s important that your leaders are heard. Recently, my leaders spoke to me about the messages I was sharing—they thought they were too long and recommended we do a series instead of books of the Bible. I listened, prayed, and gave it a shot—it has gone very well! Hearing what my leaders had to say was painful to my pride, but if I hadn’t listened to them, I never would have changed.
Since we’ve begun following these steps, our group has grown, become healthier, and the leaders find it easier to step into their small groups. We are better when we work together.
Michael Newton is the High School Minister at Calvary Chapel Petaluma in Petaluma, Ca and has served in youth ministry for 10 years in varying roles and responsibilities. Passionate about the Church, Leadership, and Students. He and his wife Kylie have two beautiful daughters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.