Archive for January 8th, 2009

Youth Ministry Essentials 4


In David Chow’s book, “No More Lone Rangers,” he addresses the idea of a team based ministry.  How a youth ministry needs to be more than one individual leading the group.  I echo his sentiments.  Over the past 10 years I have had the honor of watching people begin to serve in our youth ministry and find the role that God has called them into.  I am amazed at the amount of people who have actually gone on to serve in greater roles as well.  One of our former leaders is now an Assistant Pastor on staff at our church and there are two others who are currently seeking their pastoral license with the desire to go and serve other churches as Youth Pastors as well.

I feel as though our youth ministry is a breeding ground for new leaders.  Part of that is due to the fact that I do not “own” the youth ministry.  I am keenly aware that God has given me this role and at any time He can take it from me.  With this knowledge I strive to lead a ministry that must go on beyond me.  Should I ever leave to minister elsewhere I want to ensure that the strength of our youth ministry continues.  I believe with all my heart that this could and would happen.

Some of the things that I have done to instill the team mentality is to hold the ministry loosely.  I look to give away as much of the ministry responsibilities as I can.  There are many areas of leadership that our ministry can be broken down into.  In that regard I have searched for people that are truly gifted in those specific areas and given them the reigns to lead.  I once heard Wayne Cordeiro say that of the 100 percent of things that were required for his ministry to run effectively there was only about 10 percent of those things that only he could do.  The other 90 percent of responsibilities were his job to give away.  When we look to match people up with their giftings and help them find their fit within our ministries we end up with a far more effective and powerful ministry.

A team centered ministry is something that we all need to strive to have.  I understand that this can be difficult to achieve if, as a leader, you are insecure.  Hear me and understand the words that you are about to read, please.  If God has called you to lead the ministry that you are in currently then you have no need to fear someone else coming in and out-shining you as a leader.  And to be perfectly honest, if you are truly Kingdom minded you would celebrate that, should it occur, and look for ways to encourage that leader to continue to grow.  Many times we use the excuse that we are protecting the ministry from possible discredit or harm.  I can only look to Jesus and his choice to bring Judas on as a disciple.  He knew that Judas would betray Him and yet He still called Judas to follow Him.  It is an insecure leaders who is afraid to release people to serve in their strengths that will, in the long run, end up with no one to lead.  Releasing control may result in some failures, but the greater failure is not trusting God to let Him teach others through their own efforts and mistakes.

Leading with a team centered focus gives the ministry the ability to multiply it’s reach far beyond what one single leader could achieve. When you have a unified team following a clear vision there is much that God can do!  As I survey the large group of teens that we have attending and participating on our youth ministry I fully understand that I can not connect directly with each and every one of them.  It is only through the reach of many qualified, gifted and passionate leaders that we are able to connect each teen with a caring leader who can help them directly.  

About a month ago I took a vacation.  During this time away our youth ministry met and continued without a hitch.  When you have a team centered ministry you can rest assured that, while you are needed, they can get by without you.  I believe it is actually very healthy for every leader and every ministry to step away from leading occasionally to stretch the existing leadership into new areas.  This helps push people beyond their comfort levels and gives them room to grow.  One of the long term goals of my ministry is to not only release young people to serve God but to also release new ministries from our existing ministry.  I believe there are young people who will go on from our ministry that will lead incredible, life-changing ministries that will far surpass anything that I could do.

Do you have a team centered youth ministry?  Are you actively involved in recruiting new leaders and equipping them to serve in the youth ministry?  Do you have Kingdom eyes to see those “diamonds in the rough” who have yet to feel the call to ministry?  Who do you need to connect with to invite them to serve alongside you?

As a side note, this post would not be possible if it weren’t for the incredible team that I serve alongside.  Allow me a moment to give a shout out to the best youth ministry team I could ever have the privilege to serve with.  Jeff & Cindy Towne, Jeff & Margaret Cerow, Chris & Becky Mogee, Nate & Jocelyn Perez, Jim Moore, Brenda Allen, Anne Stewart, Tina & Kayla Harriman, Kyle & Danielle Juza, Collin & Everett Locker, Zach Steenbeke, Taylor Seltzer, Audrey Blake, Paul Laflamme, Lisa Lavoie, Rich Gunther, Ann Marie Cassel, Tracy Bagley & of course my beautiful wife, Kim Twombly.  You guys ROCK!