We have something like 50 ministers in our student ministry (5th -12th grade), that’s a significant change from when I first started with 12 ministers 6 years ago. Back then I was only the middle school youth minister so getting to know, nurture and love on 12 people was a much easier task. I remember when I first started I met with each of them for coffee every couple of months, just to see how they were doing in the ministry. I can’t do that anymore, I would just be going crazy, but I want to make sure my ministers still feel valued. And I know there are ways of doing that because I read about these seasoned ministers opening up their house, constantly hanging out, growing old with their ministers and I want that. But because we are a bigger team I don’t have the time or energy so I have to act more corporate right? I’m running more of a business and less of a family operartion, correct?
Yes and No. It’s a business because of the systems and structures that need to be created with a group that size. I need to make sure that the ministry has clear vision, mission, etc but, that doesn’t mean family and community should be sacrificed, if anything it should be strongly encouraged.
Ministry is a family because your ministers are just as important (maybe more) as your students. If you don’t have ministers, you won’t have students. If you don’t have God loving ministers, you won’t have God loving students. So to make sure that happens it’s important to have a healthy ministry leader to minister ratio. Right now I oversee about 5 people. Those people from a ministry standpoint mean a lot, I want to make sure they never get overwhelmed, that they feel supported; yet challenged and that they are always set-up for success. The way this is done is by opening up my house to them, getting to know their families, letting them know mine. I’ll get them resources and invest in them as much as possible, which is important because I’m not paying these people to do what I need them to do. They are doing it not because of me but because of God, but they can always stop because of something I did or did not do.
I want my ministry leaders to pass that on to their leaders and sometimes we need to coordinate that. What we’ve done is grouped some of the ministries into teams of 3-5 people. Each team has a leader and that leader’s sole responsibility is to coordinate 3-4 times when the team can get together just to share life. That’s it, they don’t have to plan meetings, events, etc. Just grow together, treat them like family, treat them like their community. And some have already started. My small group leaders coordinated a Christmas Party for all the ministers this past year. My Resurrection Director (7th/8th) put together a kickoff bbq a few weeks back. And it’s been exciting to hear about friendships forming because of two people serving together. That’s community.
What have other youth workers (especially those with larger teams) done to make sure community and Christ love is felt amongst the team?