By E. L. Loomb
It takes a team of people to meet the needs of teens. Only a team can conduct a balanced youth program. A balanced youth program includes Bible teaching through the Sunday school, weekly youth meetings, discipleship, leadership training, Care Groups, socials, service projects, evangelistic minis-tries and separate gatherings for junior and senior high school young people. These basic program elements are all designed to meet the needs of young people. However, no single person can possibly conduct this type of life-changing program alone. Even in the small church, a team approach to youth ministry is necessary.
The Balanced Program
A church youth ministry team should include Sunday school teachers, youth workers, youth officers, parents, Care Group leaders and other interested adults. All of the members of the team will not give the same amount of time to youth ministry. All of them will not be present at any single youth event, unless it is a special occasion. However, all team members are investing their lives in teens and should gather occasionally with the other team members who minister regularly to the youth of the church.
Advantages to Team Ministry
Look at the benefits of a team approach to youth ministry-
1. Teens identify with only a few adults. They pick and choose their adult friends. When team ministry is operational, teens have more adults with whom to identify and their chances of finding a person in whom they choose to confide increases.
2. Creativity is expanded through team ministry. Each person on a minis-try team may have three great ideas. When thoughts are pooled in planning together, one idea leads to another and everyone’s ideas are multiplied. Instead of having 9 good ideas, a three-member team may together have 20 ideas and the unlimited potential to develop more.
3. Team ministry results in more prayer for teens and youth workers.
4. Team ministry compensates for each youth worker’s limitations by providing a support team that has a wider range of gifts and abilities.
5. Youth worker turnover is reduced through team ministry. The members of the team support and encourage one another. No one is left to carry the burden and work alone.
6. Team ministry brings long-term continuity to a youth program. When one team member must resign, the long-range strategies continue. Most adult-teen relationships continue with the loss of one team member so teens can still confide in their leaders. There is never a total breakdown or abrupt change in direction within a team approach to youth ministry.
Team ministry does not automatically happen just because 2 or 3 people agree to work with a group of teens. One researcher concluded that a group of people must gather 2 or 3 times a week to develop a sense of community. The study also revealed that nearly 18 hours of group time is necessary before trust develops among the people of a group. Such information emphasizes the difficulty of developing a “team” in the true sense of the word.
It would be nearly impossible for a youth ministry team to gather two or three times a week. But, people must gather regularly and share their goals and burdens if a ministry team is to be built. Youth workers need to know what is happening in the Sunday school, and teachers need to know of social activities and service projects. Teen leaders need to feel that they are a part of the planning process and to know that they have the support of parents. Meet with your youth ministry team at least once a month. During these team meetings, have everyone participate in the prayer, evaluation, reporting and planning times. By building a youth ministry team, the quality of youth minis-try is enhanced and the morale of youth workers uplifted.
This article “Teamwork” written by E.L. Loomb is excerpted from his book Ministry Workers Handbook.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”