In any position, expectations are important…very important! The person applying for a job needs to know what is expected of him first. If the boss does not lay out the expectations from the get go, he cannot expect for his employee to meet those expectations. Therefore, I blame this on the boss. In student ministry, it is important that you lay out the expectations for the youth leaders ahead of time. When I came to this student ministry, we already have had youth leaders in place, and I have not had to go out recruit much, but when I do, this is important. Lay out clear expectations for your youth leaders. Okay, we got that…now, what are some expectations that I should have for our youth leaders? Here are a few of those for you to start out with:
- Maintain a healthy growing time with Jesus- Youth leaders time with God will show in how they approach their ministry! If they have not been growing in the Word, you will see it lived out in youth group, and you cannot have this! Youth leaders must be steadily growing in their relationship with Jesus if they ever want the students to grow.
- Be faithful to church/youth group- This is a no brainer in our minds, but let me tell you from experience, the youth leaders need to hear it! It is important and vital that you stress this. We cannot ever expect our students to be faithful to church if we cannot be faithful. Tell your leaders that you expect them to be at church when the doors are open so that is applicable to however your church does its service times.
- Attend youth events- Now, there are going to be times when some youth leaders cannot attend certain events throughout the year, but they should be at many throughout the year for sure! This is their responsibility. Attending youth events is one of the best ways to build relationships with the students. They love seeing their leaders at stuff. It is tough, but from experience the leaders with the best relationships with their students are the ones who try to come to every youth event!
- Build relationships with their small group students’ parents- This is HUGE. I actually had a breakfast meeting this morning with one of our youth leaders discussing how we can be more involved in the home and the parents lives. I am learning that we are ministering to our parents as much as the students and your youth leaders must understand this from the get go! Therefore, they must try their best to talk with the parents and build a solid relationship with the parents throughout the year.
- Participate with enthusiasm- This is important to me. The reason is there is nothing worse than you being excited and no one else is. That is awful for the student pastor. If you have leaders (and you should), this should never happen! Meaning as long as leaders are there, there should never be a dull moment in youth group. If there are, it is the leaders responsibility to kick up the enthusiasm and energy. Expect this from your youth leaders.
- Follow Rules & boundaries of church- Every church and youth group have certain boundaries. Sometimes they are crazy and far-fetched, but every youth leader must know that they are responsible for teaching the students to follow rules whether or not they agree with them.
- Offer suggestions for improvement- I desire this from every youth leader. If you have 5 youth leaders, that is 5 different perspectives that you need to hear! I love hearing feedback from our youth leaders, but you should expect every leader’s feedback, not just the same few every single time.
- Attend training and leader’s meetings- This is another big thing that we struggle with. If you have a leader who skips out on all of the meetings that you have, they are not going to be much good. It is your responsibility to find the best time for the most leaders to attend and schedule it. Schedule them far in advance so that the leaders can plan accordingly. After that, it is the youth leader’s responsibility to attend! They must plan around important meetings.
- Follow through on responsibilities- If you give them a responsibility, follow through with it! Youth leaders who sit on things for a long while are not going to be good leaders. Find leaders who are eager to get things done for you. Also, if they suggest for you to do something, you must follow the example and the expectation of getting it done in a timely manner as well.
- Pray daily for the student ministry- This is another no-brainer, but it sometimes goes unnoticed. We expect so much when it comes to the program, but when it comes to the biggest thing like praying, we do not stress this! Every youth leader should be responsible and held accountable that they are praying daily for the student ministry!
I could go on and on, but these are 10 expectations that you must have! Remember to lay out the expectations early. The student pastor’s who are frustrated with their youth leaders and their performance are normally the ones who have not laid out the expectations that they desire!