Youth Ministry's Number One Obstacle (jonbrown.ws)


In a recent survey (get the survey results here) of over 600 youth ministries, my friends on the student ministries staff over at Lifechurch.tv discovered that the number one obstacle in youth ministries across the nation, regardless of size or context is, “Recruiting & Retaining Great Leaders”.   In this guest post from the SHAPE CONVERSATIONS, my friend Carlos Ortiz Jr. gives us some challenging questions that will help in overcoming this number one obstacle.
It's a Tuesday night and I'm thinking back over the day's meetings and conversations. Let's see, I met about our website, an upcoming leadership event, a new hire, encouraged two struggling youth pastors, cleared out my inbox, responded to 20 requests, sent out 3 tweets, responded to 5 tweets, posted on our staff FB page, casted a little vision for our internship and took 5 bathroom breaks (Daniel Fast problems).  This day probably looks no different than most people in church ministry, except for one thing, lunch!  
I spent the best hour of the day with a guy on my team who has more talent than he even realizes.  We could have spent it like many other lunches and hang out times with leaders, building relationship, semi-counseling, laughing and spewing out ‘wisdom from my 17 years of youth ministry.’  However, we spent it eating and having a difficult conversation.  We spent it giving each other feedback, and letting the other person know how we could get better by being more aware.  

"SELF AWARENESS IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD GREAT GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT."  

That's a statement we live by on our team.  We could pray, lay hands, fast, prepare 20 leadership classes, start a small group and even have one on one time…but without self awareness, it's all for not!
When building a team of leaders, it's important for us to be aware of our own leadership.  Here are three questions to begin thinking through as you define your leadership style, and the effect you will have on those who join your team.

1. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR THE LEADERS ON YOUR TEAM? 

This question is more than just "I want my leaders to grow, love students and be sold out to this generation."  The question is more about you as their leader.  What culture are you creating that will make your desire for your leadership team, come to pass?
This is all about how intentional you are serving your leadership team.  Our pastor Craig Groeschel is frequently quoted as saying, "everyone ends up somewhere, not everyone ends up somewhere on purpose."  Your intentionality is key to your team’s success.

2. HOW ARE PEOPLE BETTER FOR HAVING SERVED ON YOUR TEAM?

We all want (or even need) more leaders on our team.  However, we sometimes assume that by being on the team each leader will benefit from their time invested.  This is where someone might say, "their reward is in heaven" or "it's all about serving the kingdom" or better yet "it's not about the leader, it's about the students."  Although those are all true statements, they aren't going to serve you well in recruiting, retaining and developing leaders. 
Why would any volunteer give countless hours, take middle of the night phones calls, go to sporting events or God forbid, wear skinny jeans to be culturally relevant?  Only you know the answer.

3. DO YOUR CURRENT LEADERS KNOW WHAT THOSE THINGS ARE?

It's all fine and dandy to have a kick butt handout to recruit leaders, or a website for people to interact.  BUT, if your own leaders do not know your vision for the team, your team will fluctuate, leak, and eventually be depleted.
 Think of other questions you can ask yourself, or the leaders on your team. Their feedback is the best insight you could acquire, and can get you one step closer to being a self aware leader. 
CARLOS IS THE DIRECTOR OF LEADERSHIP XP, A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT & INTERN PROGRAM AT LIFECHURCH.TV.  BEFORE CARLOS CAME ON STAFF AT LIFECHURCH.TV, HE SERVED IN YOUTH MINISTRY FOR FIFTEEN YEARS, AND HAS SERVED IN DIFFERENT CAPACITIES WITH YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS.

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