The YTH Leadership Meeting
A group of people seated around the table. A lighthouse on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. A spotlight shining on the stage. A ship barging through the ice. All of these are pictures of leadership.
Here's another one.
If one horse can pull 6 thousand pounds, then certainly two horses will pull 12 thousand pounds. Right?
Wrong. There is another law working here.
If one horse can pull 6 thousand pounds, most studies show that two horses can pull about 21,000 pounds. It is the Law of Proportion (or exponentiality).
Horse pulling is a draft horse competition where horses in harness, usually one or two animals, pull a stone boat or weighted sled and the winner is the team or animal that can pull the most weight for a short distance. The Belgian horse is the breed most frequently seen, but other draft breeds are also used.
Let's apply that to the YTH Leadership Team.
We all have so much to offer. Differing gifts and talents - and passions and competencies. So, working together is vital to a successful and effective YTH Ministry. With that in mind, here are some essentials for YTH Leadership training.
One of the most important sources for leadership is the bible. There are so many texts that speak to the importance of leadership. Here are just a few.
Exodus 18 - Moses was working alone leading the Israelites. So, Jethro to Moses: “The thing you are doing isn’t good. You will wear you and the people out. STAND BEFORE ME FOR THE PEOPLE – TEACH THEM MY LAW – SELECT OTHERS TO HELP YOU. And let them lead the people at all times.”
Numbers 11 - Look at the importance of teamwork here. God commands Moses: “Gather 70 leaders and I will come down and meet with you and take from your spirit and give to them.”
Deuteronomy 32 - And we have in this text the principle of proportion or exponential. “How can one put a thousand to flight – and two put ten thousand to flight? Only unless God helps them.”
The YTH Leadership Meeting requires thought. The kind of intention that brings a value-add to the team. If the YTH Leader Meeting doesn't bring value, it is a bad sign for the YTH Ministry. This setting is the training ground for effective YTH Ministry and must be planned with thoughtful intent.
Here are 10 essentials for the YTH Leadership Meeting:
- BI-WEEKLY - Monthly meetings aren’t enough. Most YTH teams do not even meet on a regularly basis. There are so many changes that take place in communication and community that require regular sync. The meeting could be at the Church, in a neutral site venue, or a home. But it must be regular. Don't worry about schedules and busyness and attendance. If the meeting is a value-add, everyone will be there. And if for some reason a person has to miss, with bi-weekly meetings, there will be a meeting soon enough. This is critical for continuity.
- EAT - What happens around the table is legendary. Relationships are built in this setting. Have leaders bring food or plan for snacks in the Church budget or even hit a coffee or bookstore for drinks-only during the meeting. This is critical for team chemistry.
- LAUGH - Levity in the meeting makes the meeting more attractive. And can bring a more teachable setting because everyone is excited to be there. Usually when we think of meetings we don't think of fun or exciting. Share a spotlight of a team leader and highlight their workplace or home with humorous stories. Laughter in the meeting will create a better culture.
- WINS & STORIES - Student and leader stories can do several things. First, when one leader shares how God used them to impact a student, it can encourage and challenge everyone to get more involved in students lives. Second, sharing wins and stories can overcome the negative things that may be happening. Third, the testimony of these wins and story glorifies God as He is working in students lives. And finally, positive reports change the attitude of everyone when they hear good news. This is critical for helping us to understand how YTH Ministry works in the student context.
- ADMIN - Every meeting should cover the events of the week and month. Administration in the YTH Meeting will make sure that responsibilities are covered and & event planning is elite. Poorly planned events become poorly attended events. This is critical for communication and the calendar.
- TEACH - Removing lids on leadership can be done through thoughtful training. Teaching is a powerful production tool. Here are some things to teach the team: vision, goals, topical discussions for each meeting (culture, talking to teens, how to pray with teens, sexuality, campus access, parental relations, etc.), resources (book, article, video, etc.), having a guest (a principal or coach or guest speaker from the Church). This is critical for leadership competency.
- PRAYER - The spiritual hunger of the leaders is one of the thermostats for the spiritual hunger of the YTH Ministry. Doing spiritual life together makes everyone more comfortable when they have to do spiritual life with the students later that week. And the discussion and intercession that affects the whole ministry is exponential because there is power in agreement. Acoustic worship, prayer, and presence of the Spirit is great spiritual formation for leaders. This is critical for creating spiritual compassion.
- INDIVIDUAL CONNECTS - One of the things that helps with the momentum of meetings is to make sure that you as the leader are not the only one who knows what is going on. Share the agenda, share responsibilities, and share meeting leadership with a few key leaders. These YTH Leader Connects with key leaders monthly will bring a greater shared-ownership in the YTH Ministry among the leaders. First among equals (key leaders on the team) are critical for the shared-vision and creates commanders.
- ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION - In case others might have to miss a meeting, communicate to everyone with exit-reports. These are reviews on the meeting so that everyone gets a reset in their mind from the agenda, or assignments, or tasks from the meeting. Monthly social media, email, Planning Center, Ever-note, Google Hangout, YouTube page, & FB Page are all avenues for this to happen. Create your own process for communication. This will bring increased clarity, involvement, and communication.
- DIVERSITY - This is critical. Every team should include male, female, young adults, older adults, married and unmarried, racial, economic, and even experiential backgrounds. All of these traits or characteristics add to the education on the team and the impact upon the ministry. A university of minds is critical to complete education and formation. Remember, Superman has a weakness - but Superfriends have no weakness. This is the strength of collaboration.
Leadership development is critical to successful teams. Our YTH Leadership Meetings are the lab for great team development and ultimately student ministry outcomes. Planning can make sure that meetings can become more than BORED MEETINGS. Planning adds value to the meeting.
Leadership is more than a group of people seated around a table, a lighthouse on a cliff, or a spotlight on a stage. Leadership requires communication, and relationship, and administration, and story, and diversity. All of these things we talked about. And it takes intention to create effective meetings where these things take place.
Shared leadership begins with the dynamics of the YTH Leadership Meeting. Where we learn that if one leader can pull 6 thousand pounds, then 10 leaders can pull much more than that!