Monday, August 17, 2009

5 Year Youth Ministry Contract: Church Leadership (3 of 5)

This is post #3 of the 5 Year Youth Ministry Contract. If you have not already read the first two posts, you'll want to read them before reading this one. Read the introduction first and then read my thoughts on the youth minister difference.

In this post, we will look at the difference a five-year commitment would make for the church leadership & staff.

The Church Leadership/Staff Difference

When a youth minister joins a staff it takes time to become part of the group. It takes time to fit in, to learn how the other staff function, and to build a relationship with each other. The staff relationships are vital to the overall ministry of the church; the better the relationship, the better the ministers work together. If the youth minister was committed to staying at least five years, that would allow enough time to grow these relationships and then see the ministry improve thanks to them.

I think another big difference this commitment would produce is a "forced support" from the leadership. There are situations when the church leadership (mainly elected leadership, but could also include the families with the power) is not supportive of the youth minister and that only causes negative results. If the leadership knew the youth minister was going to be there for at least five years, they should have a greater desire to see that ministry succeed. This desire should lead to being supportive of the youth minister and working with him through all situations (good and bad).

There would also need to be more intentional communication (because sadly, the tendency is to have little intentional communication between the youth minister and the church leadership) on what the youth minister is planning and what the leadership expects. Clear expectations and guidelines would help the youth minister understand what the leadership is looking for. Knowing what the leadership is looking for would help the youth minister to be aware of what information to present, as well as how to present it.

Another benefit for the church leadership will be an opportunity to watch the youth ministry grow and mature over the five year period without trying to decide if the youth minister is doing enough those first few years. They do not need to evaluate each and every event or ministry program individually based on how "successful" they feel it is. Understanding the youth ministry is heading toward a certain goal, and knowing the youth minister will be there to see the process through for at least five years, can ease any worries they might have otherwise had. And this time-frame will lend itself to more strategic evaluations of the youth ministry, encouraging the completion of structured and timely goals.

Another benefit of this agreement could be a more focused training and minister development. The staff and leadership could spend the five years helping the youth minister grow professionally and personally. This could include in-house training, as well as providing opportunities to attend conventions and seminars. Part of good leadership is mentoring younger leaders. With a five year commitment, the youth minister would have ample time to be mentored by older/wiser leaders.

Are there negatives for the church leadership and staff?

There is the possibility that the leadership could use this five year contract as a chance to get the youth minister to do what they want. This would happen when the leadership "kindly" informs the new youth minister that the next five years could be great or miserable, depending on how happy they are with the youth ministry.

Another possible downfall of this type of agreement might happen in the fifth year of ministry. If the leadership is unsatisfied with the youth ministry, then there is a possibility of being extra tough on the minister or backing off and being distant. Either way, it would cause the ministry to suffer and the minister to be hesitant to come to work each day.

What other differences do you think a five year commitment would make for the church leadership?
Do you think it would benefit the church leadership to have the youth minister make this commitment to a local ministry?

Posts in this series:
1. The Introduction
2. The Youth Minister Difference
3. The Church Leadership/Staff Difference
4. The Church Membership Difference
5. The Students Difference

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