When we launch a new leader into a small group, it’s just another day in our world. We forget too often that this is not just another day for this new volunteer. For this new leader, it could be the equivalent of launching an astronaut into outer space, asking them to embark on a foreign journey. This journey will undoubtedly have unexpected turbulence and certainly new ideas and concepts never encountered before along the way.
A question I ask myself often, “If I were a leader or volunteer in my ministry, would I feel well equipped for my role?” And the answer I sadly give myself sometimes is, “no”. When this reality sinks in for any of your volunteer or leader roles you need to troubleshoot, problem solve and strive to equip or you are going to lose this volunteer you worked so hard to recruit.
Leaders and volunteers step out of youth ministry every year for various reasons, but a big reason that I continually hear from not just my own ministry at times but from others as well, “I just didn’t feel well equipped for my role.” Wow. We worked so hard as a church to recruit this person we just had to have in this serving role and now they are walking out the door after 6 months of volunteering their time. They head back to warming pews during sermons as we eagerly look to “fill the gap” that volunteer left behind.
It’s your fault. No, not all the time but most of the time you can attribute someone’s reason for leaving because they didn’t receive the continual training, encouragement, and guidance they needed during their season of serving. It may not be your role to do all the equipping but it is your responsibility if you are the leader of the ministry.
We are always refining and re-thinking the way we equip our leaders in my ministry. I want to make sure a new leader is very well equipped and educated before stepping into a small group setting, but it shouldn’t stop once they start serving…they equipping should be tailored to the leader.
In the same way an astronaut would use various equipment from mission to mission, your small group leaders need various means of support and tools for the various groups and ages that they work with. It starts simply with a conversation and a few questions for those you lead to see how you are doing in this area, starting with the one for yourself “If I were a leader or volunteer in my ministry, would I feel well equipped for my role?”