Leadership continues to be one of the hot topics in the church today. Now more than ever before we are seeing books, seminars and coaching sessions revolving around leadership. My hope of writing this series of blog posts isn’t to bring anything new to the table; rather I want to share with you what in my opinion are four non-negotiable aspects of Christian leadership.

Have you ever tried to lead without a team? How did it go for you?

I am slowly learning over time about team building and team management. I have had two scenarios of leadership that have taught me the hard way a lesson I should have picked up on simply by following the example of Jesus.

My first hard lesson came when I worked at a summer camp in a leadership position. I wasn’t in charge of building a team, rather training them and working alongside the leadership team. My failure came in the form of not training people to do tasks I could do more easily by myself.

The second lesson came while working in my current church. I work in a midsized Canadian church and struggled for a long time with building a team. I procrastinated and it backfired. As a result of my failure to build a team I dealt with a period of decline in attendance and struggles of being overwhelmed with my workload.

I believe that we learn from the example of Jesus when it comes to team management. The first lesson we can learn simply is that we need a team. One of the first things Jesus did during his ministry was to gather his disciples. In the first chapter of Mark we see Jesus beginning his ministry by sharing the Gospel, and while walking along he sees Simon and Andrew and says to them “Come, follow me… and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 16,17). In addition to these twelve He also called an additional 72 to go and prepare the way for His coming. (Luke 10:1) Not only does Jesus appoint people to a place on His leadership team, He also takes the time to empower them. “And He called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” (Matthew 10:1) A key skill as a leader is to find a team and surround oneself with them. Once a good leader has found a team they will equip and train these new leaders with the skills to carry out the necessary tasks at hand.

How do you build and empower your team?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

Was reflecting on this past year of ministry and how I’m so privileged to serve in our church and have a great group of people I work with on our church staff and amazing volunteer team. Probably lots of similar things have been written about building a winning team – but it has been fun and challenging to do these things in our youth ministry:

Love
Genuinely love your people. You can fake it for a while, but it eventually comes out that it is all about you. Make it all about them and all about Jesus and you win.

Laugh
The team that laughs together, stays together. Ministry is draining, challenging, and inspiring. Make sure you laugh along the way – it’ll double the life expectancy of your people.

Value
Make sure they KNOW they are loved. Make sure it is obvious you are thinking about them, promoting them, speaking highly of them. You shouldn’t have to say anything, they should just feel it. Typically when there is doubt in this area, they feel undervalued, ignored, under-appreciated, worthless.

Believe
Give your people real, audacious projects. Trust them with critical situations. Give them the ministry while you’re away on vacation, and don’t take it back when you return. Belief goes a long way when building people.

Would love to know what you do to build your team, too!

JG



While you and I are called to serve teens and their families, our most important audience is the volunteer who serves alongside of you.  Without them you can only do so much and last so long.  That’s why every summer you make a huge effort in recruiting and training them in your craft.  Every year there is a mad rush to get them and then when you do you are happy because you have a team.  But, you aren’t done.

The hardest part about building up your volunteer base isn’t asking them to join, it’s retaining them for the long haul.  When you have a volunteer who not only commits to your ministry for one year but five or even ten, the amount of fruit their service will bare is immeasurable.  So, how do you keep them around?  Well, it’s all about how you pour into them.  Some of the big ways to do this is by sending them to conferences and hosting all day training events.  However, the investment doesn’t always have to be expensive and complex.  There are a few small things that you can do that will go a long way.

Here are three practical ways you can invest in your leaders:

Send Them A Note – There is nothing better than receiving an authentic hand written thank you note in the mail.  It communicates; I took the time and effort to express my gratitude for you.  You don’t have to write anything profound, just thank them for something simple or small that meant a lot to you.  It’s another way of telling them how valuable they truly are to you and the ministry.

Get Personal With Them – You might meet with your volunteers constantly; however, how many times is it personal?  Agenda-less meetings are essential to the relationship you have with your ministers.  Find time to take a few of them out for coffee.  Invite a couple of them over for a bite to eat or to watch a movie.  Indoctrinate a couple of the key leaders into your family.  The more they get to know you the easier it will be for them to return the investment.

Brag To The Pastor – Our pastor encourages the staff to introduce to him the all star volunteers and first timers.  While he’s not going to get to know all of them, he wants to know the people making an impact on the church.  When you introduce a volunteer to the pastor it shows them that you are so impressed with their work that you want the boss to know.  That just might be the public affirmation they need to bring their service to the next level.

It’s important to note that you can’t do all these things for everyone.  Not only is that a difficult task but also if you tried to praise everyone equally your investment would lose value.  Lastly, always think simple.  Your investment doesn’t have to be expensive or overly creative.  Just make it authentic, transparent and spontaneous.

What other ways can you simply invest in your team?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.

If you give LeaderTreks a little information about yourself they’ll in turn give you 50 brand new freebies from their website. Just downloaded the bundle myself and saw health assessments, team building initiatives, illustrations, Bible studies, activities and more. Good stuff!

JG