Do you wonder where the passion, energy, and drive you once had for youth ministry has gone? Apathy among students, absence of parental involvement, and a lack of leadership commitment can take a toll. Our ministry conducted a survey of youth workers and found that more than 42% related their greatest challenge to:
- A need for more volunteers
- Finding, recruiting, and utilizing volunteers
- Lack of committed adult volunteer leadership
Can you relate? Recruiting leaders has always been a challenge that every ministry must overcome. But there are churches that HAVE overcome. They recruit effectively and keep a team of committed youth ministry volunteers. This is the first of two articles where I will lay out a proven 7-step process in building a leadership team. Here are the first three steps.
1. Pray Fervently
Many of us want to get busy talking to potential leaders, but we see Jesus investing a whole night in prayer before He “recruited” His team (Luke 6:12). Jesus started with prayer. As you pray, ask God for wisdom to see who you should approach (James 1:5), and as the Lord brings people to your mind, begin praying specifically for them by name. Make prayer your first and highest priority!
2. Determine Qualifications
You want to make sure that the adults who join your leadership team line up with your vision, philosophy, and theology. The acrostic F.I.T. (FAITHFUL, INVESTED, and TEACHABLE) covers the key attributes you should look for.
Faithfulness has at its core, integrity, sincerity, and dependability.
- How is their walk with God?
- How is their marriage and family life?
- Does this person’s “yes” mean yes?
- When given something to do, does this person follow through?
Look for leaders who love young people. You want those who remember what it was like to be young and have a burden to invest in them. Seek out those who recognize every young person as a diamond in the rough. Look for those who see students as potential, not problems.
Look for humble, teachable people! Build your team with people who recognize their daily need for the Lord (John 15:5), and who are seeking to grow deeper in their walk with Jesus. Look for the spirit of a servant. This is a key trait that Jesus sought to pass on to those He recruited (Matthew 20:25-28). If someone is humble, they will love to serve.
Now that you know the type of leader you are looking for, you need to consider how you will plug each person into the ministry.
3. Know the roles
What roles do you want new team members to fill? Recruit leaders to something specific and significant.
Here are a few considerations:
- Administrator – someone who is good at taking care of details.
- Teacher – build a team of excellent teachers to bring variety to your students.
- Worship Leader – someone who will involve students in your worship team.
- Small group Leader – look for those who will be building relationships with your students. Having a variety of personalities in small group leaders helps minister to a broad group of students.
- Games/Activity Coordinator – high energy people fit well in this slot.
There may be other roles you want to fill, just be sure you think it through and then ask God to give you people to fill each of these positions.
In part two we will look at the last four steps, so don’t forget to check back with us!
John is the Director of Word of Life Youth Ministries. He and his wife Pam have served with Word of Life for over 33 years in several regions including Southern California and North East Pennsylvania. They currently live in upstate NY where John has been serving in his current role since November, 2014.