“How could they mess this up?” I had sent my volunteers the link for the game, but none of them came prepared. There I was bailing them out once again. Then it dawned on me, “I don’t think I told them to do anything more than check the link out.”
It is frustrating when it feels like your volunteers are just not getting it. You think about all the reasons why they aren’t meeting expectations, when the reality the reason could be you. Before you blame your volunteers for being incompetent, complacent or disloyal, ask yourself whether or not you have:
The months of May and June are very busy for us. While we take a step back from the usual programming there are still a lot of tasks that need to be done. To reach our goals means rallying together our volunteers. That means plenty of meetings.
Meetings are important in youth ministry. They allow you to:
- Cast Vision
- Hash Out Ideas
- Celebrate Accomplishments
- Build Community
They have the potential to bring your ministry to the next level. BUT, they need to be done well A volunteer needs to feel like it’s worth their while or they will not show up. So before you plan that next meeting make sure you tackle these 4 tasks:
“Hmmm…where’s the leftover pizza?” That would be the question running through my mind late on a Sunday night after the high school students had left. I needed food to refuel my body, a bed to rest my head; however, what I needed the most was a little affirmation. For a long time I would always end a night seeking comfort because I felt like I had not met expectations. The question, “Did I do enough?” was the real question I struggled with.
Almost ten years later I still face that question. I know it’s one that I do not face alone. Maybe you’ve felt it. Maybe you’ve wondered, “Am I doing enough?”
In youth ministry there are always going to be expectations that we place on ourselves or are put there by others. Some are great because they’ll help us move forward and measure our success. The problem is when expectations are set in an unfair or impossible manner, such as:
I had only been on the job for a few weeks when I received an angry phone call from a parent. She was upset because I had not placed her son in the same small group as his friends. It was an honest mistake, they had not made any special requests on the registration form and I was new to the community. She told me, “It’s a great injustice what you’ve done.” Really? I couldn’t believe it, my first interaction with parents and it wasn’t a good one.
Parents can be one of the largest challenges in youth ministry; however, they are also one of the biggest opportunities. When you partner with parents you can be a larger influence in a teen’s faith formation. By letting mom and dad know that you are invested in them, they’ll allow you deeper into their child’s life. To truly partner with parents and gain them as allies make sure you:
As I’m planning for the fall and making sure leaders are contacting their small groups, I reflect on my own. It’s hard to believe they’ll all be seniors. It felt like yesterday that I was meeting them for the first time as scrawny little freshmen. Today they tower over me and make sure I know it. The most rewarding aspect of my group of guys is witnessing the depth that has occurred. What started as shallow guy talk has evolved over the year to true Christian accountability.
Small groups are an essential part to your ministry; however, they aren’t as simple as grabbing a group of teenagers together and asking questions. Small groups need to be able to go deeper, even when they aren’t meeting. That means making small groups a focus of your student ministry, and it also means: