I was talking with one of my homies and he was telling me about how a couple of the peeps were helping out a youth group by being leaders at a camp just recently. What is funny is that it never ceases to amaze me how poorly camp directors, youth pastors and the like, are horrible at making sure that the peeps helping are on the up and up when it comes to information.
These peeps took off an entire week of work and life to spend time giving to the youth ministry and were excited… until about half way through the week. They were in the dark about most of what was happening at this camp. There were no schedules or hard copies of stuff for them to look at and keep. They did not know when the councelor meetings were and when they had them, the information helped little to not at all. It seemed that the youth guy for this church was completely discombobulated and did not know what he was doing.
Like at this camp, most camps are filled with a ton of stuff that is just thrown together and last minute madness. This would not be so bad if you as the youth pastor were the only one that needed to know what was going on. Unfortunately, the leaders that come with you to the camp do not have the luxury of being in that little brain of yours. They do not know what you are thinking most of the time and have so much to think about anyway, you know, spending time with kids and doing their job, which is relationships.
And when you are not communicative with them, your leaders are going to feel out of the loop, misguided, in the dark, frustrated, unappreciated – to name a few. These peeps are your lifeline… they ARE your ministry. Without them you are not capable of reaching out to as many kids as you would be able to with them. I know, it seems a little too simplistic; but if it were so simple then I would not be having a conversation with Jonesy concerning volunteer leaders not feeling useful by a seasoned youth pastor.
Whether you have been doing ministry for a million years or you are the new kid on the block, it is important to take care of the peeps who are putting the time in to do ministry with you. If you are at all concerned with the retention of your staff over the long haul, then you need to do whatever you can to keep them understanding that the time that they put in is useful and that they are making an impact on the lives of the kids in the ministry.