The very first youth leader training I held, I was surprised by the turnout. Over half of the leaders did not show up. I thought that the free lunch would be enough inspiration to get the leaders to training, but I was wrong. After that, I continued to think that regardless, there was no way that there would be 100% of volunteers showing up to each meeting, but I knew there had to be something to still help develop the leaders that are reaching the teens and kids in my specific ministry setting. Here are some steps I took to ensure that the leaders in the ministry were still developing, even though they may not necessarily be at the meeting.
We did online training.
While not all people can be present in person, you can still reach them wherever they are with the internet. To accommodate that, we began a membership at Download Youth Ministry, since you get an insane deal for what you are paying for, but also they have incredible youth leader training videos (you should check DYM university)! There is a sheet that we use as a self-reflection that they, then, can keep for themselves. They can also view the training video whenever they would like and however many times they would like. This has been a huge resource in helping our leaders to continue to stay unified while not always being in a meeting.
We created a Facebook group solely for leaders.
This has been a huge resource to help our team to have conversations online, while being away from each other. Here, we post leadership articles to help each other out and discuss how it either applies to us specifically or our youth ministry. We will also post funny pictures just for laugh because it is great to have fun, too. The Facebook group also allows for a quick way to inspire others, where most leaders will see the message (people don’t always check their emails). I find that this is a good way for our leaders to connect with each other throughout the week!
We meet outside of big unified meetings.
I do my best to meet with our different ministry groups on a regular basis, but also individually. You may not be able to have every single person in a meeting, but being able to meet with your leaders when they are available allows you to still meet with them, develop them, and help them to continue to stay on mission for Christ in your ministry setting. It is tough and takes up a lot of time, but your leaders appreciate it when you choose to meet with just them and when they specifically are available. It is also a great way to truly get to know your leaders on a deeper level. Sometimes, we don’t necessarily realize the leadership potential someone has until we meet with them individually. They may even suggest an idea that can improve the ministry tremendously. There are incredible things that happen when you meet with leaders one-on-one.
These are some tips to help you learn and take some next steps in helping develop your leaders when leaders do not show up to your trainings. We still set up meetings for us all to come and meet and develop together, because it is still important to try and meet as a team. But, when others can’t make it, we need to do our best to be aware of that situation and adjust to meet the needs of our volunteer leaders, so that they can grow and develop as well. There are many more things that you can do than what I have suggested to continue to develop your specific leaders, but online trainings and relationship building with them are great starters!