Autonomous Youth Ministry – Part 3
Autonomous (capable of independent function) Youth Ministry – Part 3
In Part 1, I discussed the concept of autonomous ministry and suggested the goal of giving away our ministry. In Part 2, I looked at building autonomous students within your ministry – students who can own, live and export their faith. The idea is that we need to have intentional ministry that is focused on life change, not life management.
In this post, I want to talk about building an autonomous leadership team. These youth leaders are the key to a stable ministry and viral student discipleship. How would you answer this question? Are the youth leaders in my church: (a) babysitters, (b) enforcers, (c) clone-reproducers, or (d) disciplers capable of functioning autonomously ( thus multiplying ministry and influence)?
The answer to this question reveals the true focus of a youth ministry. Ministries that are committed to evangelism and discipleship realize the necessity of multiplication through a leadership team. Conversely, those that are using the “growth by addition” model often see the youth leaders as mere traffic cops or bouncers.
If you want to multiple your influence in students’ lives then focus on training the trainers. Have a discipleship plan for the leaders that serve with you. Everyone needs discipleship, not just students! If you take the time to build an operating system that both empowers and develops your leadership team then you will see the power of “ministry multiplication” take place right before your eyes.
When building your leadership team consider the following concepts.
1. Look for people who want to personally grow in their spiritual life.
2. Recruit people who are willing to hold and be held accountable.
3. Find people who have a burden for students not just those who posses a youth degree.*
4. Go beyond your obvious comfort-zone choices.
5. Select people from multiple decades not just the twenty-something’s.
6. Commit yourself to a ministry to these leaders not just the students.
7. Live and challenge them to live a life “worthy of imitation.”
As the apostle Paul said, “Think on these things,” Let me know what you think. In Part 4 we will examine the concept of developing autonomous parents through our student ministries.
[*Disclaimer: I am not dealing with legal matters here but suggest some degree of background check on every individual working with youth to any degree.]