1. CHURCH LEADERs! (Elders/Deacons/Personnel Committee)
One of the best things you can do in youth ministry is bring church leaders into the ministry; helping them to see what is really going on and more importantly what it REALLY TAKES! “How will they know, if nobody shows them?” This has been a mantra for some time as a student minister. Rather than fighting and complaining with church leaders, bringing them and letting them become a loud voice and advocates for what’s needed to reach teens with the gospel.
As a male/husband/father, I don’t think like a mom and need others to do this for me. So I surround myself with moms who think differently than I do. This has so many times saved me from making unsafe, poor or unnecessary decisions. Moms as leaders offer a voice into the ministry that I do not have.
For so long the church has made a big deal about the absences of fathers both physically and spiritually. We have an opportunity to push back on that and surround our students with spiritual fathers that point students towards a Heavenly Father that cares greatly for them.
4. Parents of the age group you work with (or older)
More on this one below, but basically they have more wisdom than someone who had NOT had students this age (me).
5. Different Personalities
If the team all looks the same, acts the same and sounds the same it will get boring and become ineffective QUICK! Think diversity, think healthy tension and think outside of yourself. Also, more personalities create a wider net to reach students.
Recruit and enlist leaders, those are willing to push the status-quo and even flip a few cows (sacred ones). These leaders keep you moving, push other leaders and aren’t afraid to be honest. Leaders will push the ministry forward and bring new ideas and opportunities to the table.
Oh my gosh… just because they WANT to serve with students doesn’t mean they should. Bring leaders to serve with you that don’t need you to do everything for them, who, if anything, sometimes you have to tell them to slow down. Self-starters are a gift!
8. Mission Minded
Bring in leaders who GO and SERVE both overseas and domestically often. This will bring a passion and zeal for missions to your student ministry that you cannot foster alone. These people will keep missions constantly in front of your group.
Recently we did an event where we served food, snow cones, popcorn, etc. the event was an outreach event and we had hundreds on campus. At the end of the event, they had cleaned up all the food, the serving area, taken out all the trash, even mopped the floor! I was so grateful I almost cried, yet for these leaders, it is second nature. Servants who are leaders just flat out make life easier and better.
10. Loud Voices
People in your community and church who have the loudest voices can be your biggest cheerleader/megaphone or your greatest threat to the ministry. Engaging them and allowing them to lead and share the gospel with students will allow them to be a cheerleader/megaphone for you in ways that can rival any sort of PR you can do on your own.
11. OLDER ADULTS!
One of the best decisions I ever stumbled upon was bringing along leaders to serve in the student ministry who: “either currently have middle/high schoolers or have had middle/high schoolers.” This did some very cool things for our ministry. It gave the ministry a leg to stand on when all the adult leaders were standing behind me (who are or were once parents). When a family or teen goes through something difficult and needs help, I can bring with me their small group leader who had kids that age and can understand and offer wisdom. Older leaders teach and lead the age they lead from a place of wisdom and experience. Lastly, parents and leaders in the church LOVE IT! They appreciate the fact that alongside the youth pastor leading their teens, there is also a team of adults who have “been there/done that.”