During a recent organizational assessment I did through Arbor Research Group, I asked one of the ministry’s leaders how critical it was for his staff to recruit and equip adult leaders. In response, he said, “When they get their job description, it’s not built into what success looks like.”
Inwardly I cringed. How could recruiting and equipping adult leaders NOT be built into the job descriptions of a staff who wholeheartedly depends on adult leaders to do ministry?
Yet, even as I inwardly cringed, I feared this happens more than I want to believe.
When ministries are built on one person, you run the risk of quickly burning that person out.
When ministries are built on one person’s personality, you marginalize students who find it difficult to connect with that personality.
When ministries are built on one person, you limit the capacity of that ministry, ensuring that it will never grow in size or maturity.
When ministries are built on one person, you create dependency. So often in person-centered ministries, students’ faith becomes dependent on the leader, not Jesus. As a result, when the leader leaves, a student’s faith suffers.
Ministries built on one leader can never be healthy.
In contrast, when youth pastors prioritize recruiting and training adult leaders, their ministries can thrive. Adult leaders make it possible to minister to multiple types of students; to make large groups feel small; and to ensure that every student in your ministry is known, loved, and cared for individually. A team of adult leaders helps students connect with Jesus in different ways, which creates less dependency on any one person. A team of adult leaders also ensures continuity in your ministry. If the paid youth pastor leaves, goes on maternity leave, is injured, or transitions to a different role in your congregation, having a team of adult leaders ensures your youth ministry will continue.
That sounds great, right?