A Book Review by Kwabena Boakye Yidom
Many new youth leaders, both pastors and volunteers, soon find themselves discouraged and lonely with the feeling no one is willing to help them. Determined to soldier on and connect young people with Christ and the church, they quickly become lone rangers.
Building a Great Team, by Steve Case and Hubert Cisneros, is the second in a series of five books on the essential qualities that create great youth groups. It introduces four components to help build strong teams so where leaders do not feel they are alone, and for helping teens feel that they are part of something that matters.
Purpose Driven Leadership
The first component of building a successful youth ministry team is to understand the purpose of youth ministry and youth ministry leadership. Knowing and understanding this purpose will help youth leaders to focus their energies, and to grow in their ability to deliver skillful and effective leadership.
A Takes a Team
The second component of building a successful youth ministry is to understand that leadership requires teamwork. It is impossible for a lone ranger to successfully lead. Leadership is about working with other people who share the vision of the group. Leaders must see themselves as a member of the team.
Include Senior Leadership
The third component of building a successful youth ministry is to include the senior pastor and members of the church board as members of your youth leadership team. Sharing information and coordinating plans together are essential for timely and effective action. Your local conference leaders are also essential members of your team.
The fourth component of building a successful youth ministry is to engage parental participation. They, too, are important members of your team. These parents are heavily invested in their children, and will do anything to help their children grow in the faith. Instead of excluding parents from your youth ministry, include them for the common good of your teens.
One concern – I wish Case and Cisneros had spent more time helping leaders to develop specific strategies for times when youth leaders, senior pastors, church boards, and parents find themselves in disagreement with each other.
Kwabena Boakye Yiadom is a DMin student in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Cohort at Andrews University