“First Move Mondays” is a weekly series of articles that will help you establish or strengthen a leadership development program in your youth group. These articles are aimed at youth leaders who are either contemplating a youth leadership team, those who have just started them, or youth leaders that want to strengthen the foundation of their existing program.
Don’t Forget These 5 Things When Starting a Leadership Team
When we start something, most of us will make big mistakes on the most obvious things. That’s because we take those things for granted. We don’t even think about them. It’s no different when we start a youth leadership team. You know these things, and I know you know these things; but sometimes we get so excited that we forget even the simplest things we know.
Have a Plan.
This is one of the most important things you’ll do. Before you tell anyone about your idea and especially before you start putting it into play, for goodness sake have a plan. It doesn’t have to be the most detailed in the world, but at least know:
What you want to do (i.e. I want youth to start leading in the ministries of the church)
Why you want to do it (Youth need ownership in the ministries of the church)
How you’re going to do it (Through discipleship and experience)
Make Sure Your Pastor is Behind You.
Most every youth pastor I know is going to at least seek permission before starting a new program like a leadership development team. But far from having permission, you want the other pastors on staff to be behind you, praying for you, helping you, encouraging you, and hopefully, implementing leadership development programs of their own. The most successful leadership development programs are those that are part of a church-wide culture of leadership development.
Enlist The Help of Others.
Don’t be so delusional to think that you can do this on your own. A youth leadership team is a big responsibility and can be a lot of work. Suck up your pride and ask some people for help. Chances are once you announce your intentions others will look you up wanting to help. Look for people with leadership experience that the youth can look up to and be mentored by.
Communicate With Parents.
If you’ve been in youth ministry for any length of time, then you know how vital communication with parents is. It’s even more important when you’re forming a leadership development team. A leadership team is one more activity that students will have to be driven to, and two more trips out for parents. It could be a financial investment. Make sure that you are in constant contact with the parents of your leadership team. Get to know them personally; sit down to coffee with them – know them.
A no-brainer, but one we often overlook. Leadership development must be very intentional. You can’t just throw together a lesson last-minute and hope that it has something to do with Christian Leadership. Everything you teach and do should have a purpose and a goal in mind. A haphazard leadership development plan doesn’t develop anything but frustration and burnout.
It never hurts to have a good reminder, especially when you’re just starting out. Remember, lay a strong foundation and you can confidently build on it – be faithful in the small things.