Cohesion: the action or fact of forming a united whole.
One of the most important things as a Student Pastor (outside of Love for God, love for students, and solid Biblical content) is the art and discipline of building and maintaining cohesive leadership teams. Like I said in a previous post… I’m going to assume that those other things are true of you (if they are not… you might want to start rethinking if student ministry is a good fit for you)… but if you are anything like I was when I started out doing this thing 13 or so years ago… this discipline does not come naturally. But what I’ve learned over the years is that it is CRUCIAL to my leadership, it is CRUCIAL for my ministry, and it is CRUCIAL to my longevity to develop cohesive leadership teams. Another thing that I have learned is that you can do this with or without additional hired student ministry team members. I completely understand that not everyone (in fact, probably a majority) has the benefit of hiring team members. This was my reality for 5 years when I started. I would read these books about great youth ministries and come to find out that there were multiple hired youth staff at those churches… and that began to jade my perspective on team building. “Sure, you can have an awesome team environment when you get to hire your team.” Being someone now who has two hired youth staff and 2 interns working on my team… I can say with confidence “Cohesive teams do not come from HIRING… they come from HARD WORK.” It takes a lot of HARD WORK to build a team that is UNITED and works together as ONE… and whether you hired that team or recruited that team as volunteers… it takes the SAME AMOUNT of hard work for both to become a cohesive team.
So what do we need to start doing to develop a Cohesive Leadership Team?
1. Select your team. (make sure they are the right fit)
2. Build TRUST. (No trust… no unity)
3. Don’t be afraid of conflict and confrontation. (and teach your team to value it as well.)
4. Make every meeting COUNT. (if you bore them… they won’t come)
5. CELEBRATE wins, COACH through losses, CONFRONT mediocrity.
The more you value these things… the stronger your teams will become. The stronger your teams are, the healthier your ministry will function.