I believe one of the most important things a student pastor can do is build and equip a team of adult leaders. Once you have this team built, you will need to have regular meetings with them for the purpose of building community, training, and discussing what’s happening in the life’s of the students they work with. You don’t want these meetings to be a waste of time or boring. You want them to be something your leader’s look forward to and something they leave with a renewed excitement to work with students. I honestly love doing leader meetings with my leaders. I’m still not a pro at them, but I have discovered a few things that make for an effective leader’s meeting. Here are a few things I always try and do that may be a help to you as you do meetings with your leaders.
Schedule far in advance. Your leaders are busy. Unlike you, they are not getting paid to do student ministry. They do it as a volunteer. On top of volunteering in your ministry, they most likely have full-time jobs, families, children, and a ton of other things going on. That’s why it’s important to schedule your leader meetings as far out in advance as possible. I would recommend scheduling them a year out. For example, I have leader meetings with my leaders every three months. I have these on the calendar before the year even starts. This way my leaders know that every three months we will have a meeting and they know the dates of those meetings. If you do this, you have far better chance of getting them all there.
Provide food. A great way to build community among your leaders is to share a meal together at your meetings. Spend the first part of your meeting just hanging out and eating together. We always do our meetings on Sunday afternoon following our church services. Our budget usually covers a main dish and then we ask the leaders to bring side dishes to share with everyone. It’s always cool to watch your leaders build community with each other as you have a meal. It’s usually during this “eating time” that I have some of the best conversations with my leaders. Also, it’s usually when they also have the best conversations with each other.
Let them talk. It’s easy for leader meetings to become a time when the student pastor just pours a ton of information into the hands of the leaders. Part of the reason we have leader meetings is to give the leaders a time to talk and share what’s going on with them as it pertains to the student ministry. I do this two ways. First, we always have a time to share “wins.” This is a chance for the leaders to brag about what God is doing in their small group or about something they have seen happen in a students life. Second, we discuss ideas for our ministry. For example, next year we are thinking about changing our small group set up. Instead of making this discussion on my own I wanted to discuss it with my leaders. As a team, we discussed the idea and if it’s a good or bad thing for our ministry. This helps them feel like they are a vital part of the ministry, which they are.
Have a time of training. One of the main reasons you should meet with your leader’s in to train and equip them to do ministry. This is the main objective when I meet with my leaders. The community building is good, the food is great, but the real reason we are there is for me to train and equip them as a team to do effective student ministry. Every time you meet, have some training prepared for them. Don’t throw this together last minute, spend some time preparing training material that will help your leaders minister to your students well. Also, use this time to share with them resources that may help them minister to students.
These are just a few ways I believe you can have an effective leaders meeting. They have worked for us and I think these ideas will help you have a good leader meetings with your team. If you have any additional thoughts about having effective leader meetings feel free to leave them in the comment section below.