Building a Youth Ministry Team Part One: Getting Started

When I started my first (and current) call – at my home church – I was blessed to walk into a Senior High Youth Ministry that had seven Adult Leaders. All had been Adult Leaders for at least 2 years. Of the seven, 5 of them were leaders when I was a Senior High Youth in the same Youth Group! It was an awesome situation to walk into. They helped me in amazing ways that first year. But then, all but two of them decided it was time to step away. They felt that their roles were not needed since I was there and that it was becoming harder for them to connect with the Youth – both valid reasons. At the time I had no idea what to do. I did not expect to be searching for new Adult Leaders after one year in ministry.

Maybe you find yourself in the same boat. Maybe you are new to a church as a called worker and starting a Youth Group from the ground up. Maybe you are a dedicated volunteer who needs someone, anyone, to help you. Perhaps your group is growing, and you need more Leaders for your group. Let’s look at the steps my pastor and I went through when I was looking for Adult Leaders and that I have used every time I have needed volunteers for any ministry.

Step #1 – PRAY!

This needs to be Step #1. Praying for God to lead us to the right leaders, that God open hearts, and that His Will be done is huge! When 5 of my 7 Leaders decided it was time to step away, I was overwhelmed. I had been focusing all my energy into everything but looking at potential Leaders and volunteers. I had no idea what to do or where to start. Thankfully God did and does.

My all-time favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:26, which reminds us that even when we do not know what to pray for that God a) does know what to pray for and b) is praying for that exact thing and so much more in ways we cannot not express. God knows who needs to be an Adult Leader. God knows what your group needs. God knows who will serve. Beginning in prayer reminds us that God is in control and that His plan needs to be our plan.

Step #2 – Two Important Questions

After spending time in prayer ask self-assessing questions of yourself and your group. Ask questions like, “Why do I need leaders?”, “How many do I need?”, and “What is our group going to look like in the future?” The two questions I found I was asking the most were: “What do I need?” and “Why do I need that?” Those might seem like selfish questions but let me explain.

You are probably reading this because you are the called worker who has the blessing and responsibility to be the ongoing contact person – the curator of the group in all things – or the volunteer who has stepped up (or maybe even been volun-told) to lead the group. Either way, we can all admit that we have strengths and weaknesses. These two questions can help us find leaders that cover our weaknesses.

My weaknesses are almost everything administrative. Facilitating the endless fundraisers – not something I am gifted at. Figuring out logistics for the Youth Trip – not something I am gifted at. When I asked myself these two questions, I found out that I needed at least one Leader who could walk alongside me with administration and planning.

I also learned that first year of ministry that there are times in the year where I need a mental and spiritual break from standing in front of the group and leading the devotion or Bible study. Asking these two questions allowed me to realize that I needed at least one Leader who could lead the devotion or Bible study once a month and during those times I need a break.

Yes, you do need to ask, “What do the Youth need?” That answer is unchanging – they need adults who care about them, who want to see them succeed, who will walk along side them, and more. Thankfully God will bring you those Leaders. However, not everyone who can do those things for the Youth can help you with administration or lead a small group. Seek those who help your weaknesses AND build up the Youth in your care.