Sunday, September 6, 2009

Youth ministry syllabus...

I would be shocked to ever hear a youth pastor to say that he or she has over-planned. The reality is that we like to do just enuff the make sure things are going to happen. Many to most of us do or have lived the motto “Excellence is the enemy of Good Enuff.” there are just too many activities and meetings going on in your day to worry about making stuff perfect. I mean common, you have more on your plate than the average person. You are expected to work long hours. And not just the ones during the day, but all the extras that your senior pastor does not see. The ones cleaning up after a crazy midweek program all by yourself because all your staff has to leave right after group to get enuff sleep to make it through the day tomorrow. What about you??? yes, I know that you are living the fast life, and sometimes it is dragging you along – much of the time on your face. And for this reason we need to be on point as much as possible to allow wiggle room for the madness that comes up that we do not expect.

One of the best ways you can prepare yourself and your staff is to distribute information ahead of time, you know, like a proff does at the beginning of a semester or quarter in college. I am talking about so much information that your volunteers and interns are wondering if you are sane anymore. For instance, it is the beginning of September and most of us are in a place where we are scrambling to get the Fall schedule in order cause our midweek “kick-off stuff” is right around the corner. You know, weeks or sometimes only days away. You are still cleaning sand out of the car or unpacking from your last pool or house party of the summer. You have not had time to even look at what your Fall is going to look like yet. I know that it can be straight up madness. I have been there. Sometimes I still am. But I am getting better. And yo can too.

Start here. If you know what you are going to be doing this Fall and the stuff you are talking about, the activities, teams and outreach events – write them down. And do it in way that you can distribute it to your staff in early September before your school ministry season begins. You will see a world of difference in the way that your staff – and you for that matter – approaches ministry. And this is why. Your staff sees you in a couple of lights. The first is that you are running around and doing a million tasks at the same time. Secondly, they think you make up stuff at the last second, you know, right before the event or outreach nite starts. If you give them a packet of lessons, scripture, teams, games, phone numbers and ideas ahead of time they will take stuff more seriously.

Remember, you are the pulse of your ministry. If your staff sees you putting in the time and taking your job seriously, they will do the same. If they have all the material... they are the ones responsible now. Wow! That's right. Transfer responsibility and you will create an expectation of them. They will not come unprepared because you have set them up for success. Now if they fail, it is on them (well, it is still on you – but you catch my drift). They will do crazy stuff like bring your lessons and group questions all marked up with ideas they have for their group, ideas of stuff specifically for their students and ways they can be a better leader.

Also, they will come with questions for you about the passages you have chosen for the next few months, which makes you be accountable for the stuff that you put out. And we all know that it is nice to not have to have anything in writing so we do not have to answer. However, that is not good ministry. Good ministry is getting your material out on time. So, even though you may behind the curve already for this year, you still have time to get on it. Put in the extra time. Put in the long hours now and you will thank yourself later on this year when you are coming up to the holiday season and you are ahead of where you have ever been.

Setting your staff up for success will put you way beyond where you could get the group on your own talents and skills. So, get them as much material and calendar items as quickly as you can. The more they have the more success you will give them and will build confidence as a team. They deserve the chance to do the best they can with the students God has put in their groups. And you will stay sane... at least for a long period of time.

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