Monday, December 14, 2009

Key Questions About Adult Leaders

When thinking about student ministry (or ministry in general) I'm always wondering about where to put time, money and energy. There are so many important things to do. In fact If I'm honest there's never an end of ways to spend time. There's always another student to hang out with, another parent to call or another talk to prepare.

I've been convinced for a long time but some times I need to remind myself. More and more I'm remembering the importance of adult volunteers. They are the key to students not just learning about Jesus but experiencing Jesus. Ideally our leaders don't simply teach students information, they live out the life of Jesus in such a way that students see it and experience it first hand.

I long for our students to look at our leaders and sense their leader has been with Jesus.

So what does that have to do with how I spend time, money and energy? Some questions...

* How much time do I spend focusing on my adult leaders?

Sure, we all got into ministry to hang out and impact kids but if we're going to see life change on a broad scale it takes a lot of people. In a ministry of 30 or more students it seems the youth pastor should spend 50% of their relational time with adults. How much do I pray for my leaders? Do I know them well enough to get specific when I pray?

* Does my budget reflect caring for and developing adults?

I have to put my money where my mouth is. Is there money in my budget that is set aside to prepare and appreciate my adult leaders?

* Do my leaders feel loved or do they feel used?

It's so important to consistently and creatively communicate appreciation to our adults. Sometimes I should just call or text to let them know I appreciate them.

So, all you youth pastor type people out there. Take some time to pull back from your busy schedule and take a 30,000 foot gander. The most important things are not how many lights you have in your youth room or how amazing the video clip was in your talk last night. Take the time to simply prepare and love your leaders well. In the long run that will make the deepest and widest impact.


  1. David,
    If there is a 30,000 ft. gander does that mean there is 30,000 ft. goose too?

    Just kidding. Seriously though, I think we need to re-consider who the actual pastors are for students. There is no way THE youth pastor is going to spend quality time with every student in them ministry if said ministry is over 20 students.

    So, who are the real pastors of these kids? Especially those kids who come from tough family situations where there isn't a parent to give spiritual care. Those we call volunteers we might want to re-title as the real student pastors.

    It doesn't diminish a youth pastors role - I think it enhances it and wins him credible colleques (sp?) in the ministry who will see themselves and their roles as much greater than just keeping kids busy or out of trouble.

    You're awesome buddy! But seriously, where is that goose? Eric Ball

  2. I'm with you Eric. That's really what the volunteers are isn't it? Hopefully they're shepherding these kids.

    And fyi - take a look at number 2...

      /ˈgændər/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [gan-der] Show IPA
    Use gander in a Sentence
    See web results for gander
    See images of gander
    1. the male of the goose. Compare goose (def. 2).
    2. Slang. a look: Take a gander at his new shoes.

  3. Great post. I'm sending it on to my youth team right now.

  4. I have high school students, college students and adults faithfully serving in our ministry. The challenge I face is investing differently in all of these leaders. My high school leaders have different needs than my parental leaders. I am a strong believer in gross generational discipleship, but how do we bridge the training gap, and how do can I better equip all my leaders to see themselves as missional shepherds?

    Your right about the budget we do need to put our money where our mouth is.

  5. First of all, I think you should avoid "gross" anything. :)

    When we've had hs small group leaders we had 1 adult (Barbara C) coach them. They met weekly separate from all the other leaders. Shed did a great job taking the issues we were teaching older leaders and using it to equip the hs students.

    Also, 1 on 1 or 1 on 2 is the only way to really get to the unique issues of an age group or even individual leadership challenges.

    I'm also living in tension of meeting with leaders. In the short term we really don't get judged on how well we're doing shepherding 1 leader.