It made me smile because the reminder reflected a change I made a few years ago when it came to updating our leader guide. For years I’d update (or totally create) a leader’s guide the week before the leaders meeting in the fall. Updating the week before isn’t bad timing, it just wasn’t the BEST timing.
When should you update your materials and strategically connect with your leaders about changes?
In the spring!
After you’ve spent 9 beautiful months together.
It’s about the same amount of time it takes a woman to grow a human child. Spending 9 months together bonds you in ways that create intimacy and support. After the baby arrives (or summer if you’re tracking with this metaphor) you get lost in what’s next and tend to forget the beauty of the nine months before.
Make it a point to connect and correct before summer starts.
Don’t waste the valuable insights that volunteer leaders have about the year, about small groups, about what worked, and about what didn’t.
- Connect with your leaders in April.
- Thank them and tell them a story about why you loved serving with them this year.
- Ask specific questions about your youth ministry strategy, events, small groups that will help you measure the effectiveness of things you’re doing together.
I’ve included a leader’s guide our team put together to help you see the types of things you can go over with your team-use your youth ministry strategy to guide your questions and conversations. Either one on one, or at a special party with hot sandwiches and cupcakes.
Make a fun leaders guide if you haven’t already. A few years ago I read one that friend in ministry made. It made me laugh. I liked the jokes in it. Partly because the people writing it are from the mid-west (I’m from Ohio. We come with a bit of sarcasm in our blood. Basically, if you’re not sassing me, I think that you don’t like me.) The jokes brought fun to otherwise boring information. Youth ministry should never be boring. I also loved the strategy. So I emailed him and asked him if we could use the ideas. He was cool with it. And we made a little guide of our own. Sharing is caring.
Maybe you’ve already implemented your plan and you’ve got a guide and you’ve been training your small group leaders and you’ve been building the dream team….that’s awesome. Keep connecting with them. Especially now, when the temptation is to relax and let the end of the year drop off into oblivion. This is the best time to get feedback. To make changes. To see into the future and embrace the kids there!
If you want to look at an old leader’s guide. Here you go. I’ve included my duplicate version, and Rubin’s original version.
If your brand new or are thinking about developing a youth ministry strategy, I want to recommend all of these books.
If you need help organizing an excel sheet with your leader names, emails, phone numbers, and note section for feedback. Ask a teenager. You may know how to do this stuff already. But they know how to do it better. And, it’ll be fun to teach a kid to serve by serving together. Yay. Win win.
Photo download: Jay Mantri