We have prayed and asked our two important questions, and created a list of people we think will be a good fit. Now it’s time to start asking.
To read the first part of this series on getting started, click here.
To read the second part of this series on starting the search, click here.
Building a Youth Ministry Team Part Three: Building for the Future
Step #5 – How to ask
It is one thing to have a nice long list. It is another thing to ask those on your list. This might be the hardest part. No one likes rejection, which is inevitably going to happen. Some people my get anxious when asking or thinking of asking – I know that I do. The first thing you should do when you get to this point is to set up clear expectations.
What is the time commitment (day(s) of the week, hours on those days, etc.)? Are you expecting them to go on trips or servant events? Are you asking them to help with something specific like administration or Bible studies? Write out your expectations as clearly and succinctly as possible. I have found that there are times where I ask someone to help, but don’t share what that would look like. Some people also think serving means hours on hours a week. Often this not true! Change some of the expectations depending on the person (the administrator might not be the person to lead the ice breaker – you feel me?). Once you know what you are asking of each person, then you can ask them.
When it comes to asking, I take what I call a Blanket Approach. I get the person’s mailing address, email, cell phone number and find out what service they traditionally go to. I start the asking process by sending them a personal letter in the mail that details why I thought of them, what the commitment would be, and how they can get a hold of me. Then I follow up with an email. If I do not get a response from those, I send a text. If that doesn’t work, then I call them, leaving messages and calling back until they pick up. I also make sure to mention it to them when I see them at church any time after they received the letter (and depending on the person and my relationship with them, around town).
When I see that person in public or church, I never ask for a decision that very second. Doing that brings uncomfortable pressure. When you see them in person simply ask if they have gotten your calls, texts, or emails and if they are thinking about it. Remind them that you aren’t asking for a commitment at that time but would love to hear from them soon. Be gentle, compassionate, and confident when talking to them. The worst thing they can say is no – even if they say it in a less than nice way.
Step #6 – Think Ahead
This step is ongoing. When I had the adult leaders leave my first year in ministry and found the leaders I currently have, I knew I couldn’t rest on that. I knew that events can happen that change commitments. I knew that eventually my leaders would need a break. Every year with every ministry team I lead I ask people if they are planning on coming back the next year. For Youth Ministry I ask that question around Easter. Asking before the end of the year allows the leaders to pray and think about their decision. It allows me to go through these steps outlined in a proactive way.
Something I have started doing is looking 4 years ahead. I flip through the directory and look at our confirmation classes to see which families will have a Senior High Youth in the coming years. This allows me to ask probing questions of those parents to see if they would be interested in serving for the future. For example, I have a parent that is planning on being an Adult Leader starting next year when his oldest daughter becomes a freshman. He then, very tentatively, plans on being an adult leader until his youngest child – currently a 4th grader – has gone through high school. If all shakes out, that is nearly a decade of service! Looking ahead allows you to be prepared for the worst and prepared for if your group grows and blossoms.
Using these steps for finding and asking people to be Adult Leaders has made the process a little easier for me. It has also made the process faster. Hopefully you can find this useful as you search for those to walk alongside you and your youth towards the cross of Jesus!