I think we can all be a little frustrated with our volunteers from time to time. Sometimes we want them to be just a little more relational or just a little more supportive. Maybe during service, they just sit in the back and don’t spend time out engaging with students. As frustrating as that might be, you have to look at yourself and ask, what example am I setting for my volunteers?

The bottom line: you need to be doing the kind of ministry you want your volunteers to be doing. You are the one that is setting the values for your ministry and casting that vision to your team, which means you should be following that as well.

Did anyone else grow up hearing the phrase, do as I say, not as I do? As a kid, you are left feeling confused and frustrated. You think, well if what you say is so great, why aren’t you doing it? Your volunteers are thinking the same thing when your actions aren’t matching your words. And, just like the kids that hear that phrase, your volunteers will always copy actions, not words. You need to be setting the example for your team.

Casting the vision for how leaders should minister to students is only part of the battle. You can be an incredible visionary, but if there is no follow through, your vision is worthless. Ideas are never enough. Your team needs action. Your team needs YOUR action.

So the next time you see a bad habit spreading throughout your team, look to yourself. Are you the one spreading it?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

If there is no one to lead than you will never get anywhere.  Doesn’t matter if your ministry has two volunteers or two hundred, if you are the only leader eventually the burdens and responsibilities will be too much.  Chances are there is at least one other leader serving in your ministry the problem is you haven’t found him or her.  You might think someone is a leader, and even call him or her one; however, you aren’t completely sure.

The reason your youth ministry needs leaders is so that you can share the burden and expand your capacity.  With other leaders more ideas are brought to the table and your ministry teams will start to grow.  Every youth ministry needs leaders; however, it isn’t as simple as going out to your volunteers and saying, “You’re a leader, so go lead.” You might call someone a leader because they are a dedicated and committed volunteer; however, they aren’t taking your ministry to new directions.  In order to share the burden and build up leaders, you need to know what one looks like.  To find these leaders you need to make sure you are on the lookout for.

Selfless Actions – A leader is someone who will serve others.  Meaning they are compassionate towards others, willing to put others before themselves.  They encourage and empower those beneath and below them, even if it means losing out on the credit.  These leaders are the ones who go above and beyond what you’ve asked of them.

Inspirational Communicators – A leader isn’t so much a doer as a motivator.  This means laying out a challenge for the team to undertake.  It means delegating in a way that empowers the team opposed to demanding.  Your leaders are people who can rally the troops and move them towards your mission.

Big Vision Casting – A true leader sees the picture before anyone else.  They might not know how or when, but they know what.  They aren’t afraid to dream big even if others call them idealistic.  They know and understand that God calls us to greater things.

What makes a great leader?  Someone willing to step up to the plate to serve alongside of you.  Granted you might be a director, pastor or manager; however, you need other leaders to help you mobilize your resources and volunteers.  Don’t be afraid to sit with your team and talk about these qualities.  Have them help you identify the characteristics and values.  When you can build leaders you can serve more teens because they will help you manage the people around you.

What are some other characteristics of a leader?

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.