When I think about the great teams I have been a part of in the past, I think of three main components which were in play. The first is Vision. We all know the Bible verse: without a vision the people will perish (Proverbs 29:18) and it plays out in real life. Everyone wants to follow someone who knows where they are going and knows how to get there. Nobody has time to run after Forrest Gump just because he is running. We want to follow a youth leader who is tapped into Jesus’s plan to turn their corner of the world upside down with Gods life changing love.
The second part of a great team is Compassion. The phrase “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” is magnified when we are doing ministry. We are supposed to be experts at love and when we don’t do it well, it is obvious. People will know when they’re just some warm body whose needed to make sure the young people don’t do something that could “get you into trouble.” When you know your coach, teacher or pastor really care about you, then your giftings come alive and allow you to perform to the best of your ability. Think about the leaders that cared for and encouraged you. You would’ve run through a wall for them! Your team will do the same for you when they know you are invested in them.
Another important ingredient is Fun. Fun is contagious. When my son was three we went to an amusement park on a rainy day and it was almost empty. Whenever he got on a kiddie ride he laughed and screamed with delight and all the kids who were looking for something to do came running to ride the ride he was on. If the leaders are having a good time, the young people will want to be around this atmosphere and they will want to have fun as well. Is your ministry fun? If not, take that trip with your leaders to the nearest Laser Craze or play a game of charades.
I love sports. Whenever I see a team whose coach has a compelling vision, whose players know they are loved, and who look to be having more fun than any other team – I see a team that is going to be extremely hard to beat. (I saw it in Clemson and I see it in the Falcons – we’ll see if I’m right!) Focus on providing these elements in your youth ministry and watch the excitement rise about what God is doing!