Great ministry teams are key to effective and fulfilling ministry! Part of creating and sustaining a great team is ensuring that we meet regularly to be reminded why we do what we do, and to refocus on the vision. But, can I be honest for moment? I dislike meetings greatly! Although I see the need to meet, it’s sometimes hard for me (and my volunteers), to get excited about youth ministry team meetings!

However, with all that said, I have discovered four essential ways that help our team to be reminded of why we do what we do, and refocus on the vision, without it feeling like it’s an insurance seminar:

1) Celebrate What God Has Done: At every meeting I give my team the opportunity to share all the ways they have seen God moving in our student ministry. It’s human nature to get to a meeting and quickly focus on all that needs to be changed, tweaked, or challenged. Before we know it, we are looking to fix a plethora of problems. Every ministry will have issues and challenges, but that cannot be where we begin our meetings. It’s imperative that we begin by letting leaders talk about what God has been up to. When my leaders share their stories of changed lives, it paints the clearest picture of why we do what we do.

2) Talk Less, Type More! Part of refocusing the vision is ensuring that we provide a strategy and plan to accomplish the vision. My experience is that volunteers will only take in so much at a meeting. These days I talk through plans and strategy while also ensuring it is on paper or sent by email. This helps our meetings to move forward quickly knowing that leaders can go back to the details later. Don’t try to cover the details!

3) Make it Fun! Whether you give out some fun awards to leaders, share funny stories of ministry, or have your meeting at a fun coffee house, it’s essential to keep your meetings light and fun! Student ministry is highly rewarding but it also has its time of gut wrenching moments too. Therefore it’s essential that your team is able to breathe and refocus on the fun aspects when you come together.

4) Prayer: This should be number one on this list! Part of the reason I put this last was to communicate how we often allow it to slip to last place on our agenda. Sadly, I am guilty of this too often, and it is something that I am rectifying for myself and team. Prayer is the most effective way of being reminded by why we do what we do. When we pray, God does something amazing in our hearts and in the unity of the team. If you have been letting prayer slip down your agenda, I urge you to join me in making it a greater priority.

If you are the paid leader, what would you add to this list? Or maybe you are a volunteer who has experienced great meetings? What made them great?

Phil Bell is a high school pastor from Brighton, MI and is a tea drinking, soccer playing Englishman! He is passionate about developing youth ministry leaders for the future, and blogs over at

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Yesterday, Josh talked about The 3 Best Gifts a Senior Pastor Can Give Their Youth Pastor. But what about youth pastors? What are the 3 best gifts we could give back? For me, it would NOT be an iPad since my pastor probably would not know what to use it for …

After reading the post from yesterday, I realized that the 3 best gifts I could give my pastor were similar to what Josh blogged about. It’s also important to understand that when we choose to give these gifts, we ultimately benefit:

Just as I desire to be given ownership to lead the student ministry effectively, it’s important to realize that I have been called by God to lead students, not the whole church. The gift of trust can be given when I learn to effectively “lead up” and support the vision and direction of my senior pastor. It’s more likely that I will be given greater ownership and trust when I lead with trust.

Loyalty equals longevity for both of us. Just as I need faithful support to hang in for the long haul, I can’t forget that my pastor needs support as well. When he knows I’ve got his back, he’s more likely to have mine. My loyal support of my pastor can lead to greater longevity for both of us. After all, to a good degree, he is my meal ticket.

Want a good budget? Be a good steward… I have found that a good budget comes with trust that ministry dollars are being used effectively and diligently. With this comes a good communication for needs that exist as well as continuous vision casting for the student ministry.

Over the long haul I have found that when I give these gifts, I often receive so much more back, which ultimately is a win for my ministry and for my family. Even if we are in situations where the gifts are not reciprocated, it’s imperative that we choose to be gift givers…

What’s another great gift you could give your Senior Pastor?

Phil Bell is the Pastor of High School and College Ministries at Community Bible Church. He Twitters and Tumblrs.