Coming into a ministry as the new leader can be tough. There are various expectations, concerns, and procedures to learn, not to mention all the names of the people involved in the group. As I have recently found myself being the new lead for a youth program, here are a few steps that have helped me to navigate the transition.
Being in the position only a couple weeks, I have tried to hear the wisdom from the leaders who have been there longer than I have. I want to honor their commitment and time by not rushing in and making it all about me. They know the youth best, have taken years to foster amazing relationships and know what works and doesn’t. I am in the process still of having meetings with them all just to pick their brains, hear their hearts and talk about the next season. Empowering leaders to take ownership of the group, honor them by listening, and create a conversation of what is next.
There have been a few events already where there are a ton of families, adults, and youth. Coming in, I have fought for my time to spend it with the youth. The first few months I have devoted to simply build relationships with these youth. There is a student leadership team and I am usually asking them a bunch of questions, laughing with them, trying to give them more responsibility and buying them a slice of pizza. Don’t get too caught up in the procedures and systems that you forget to actually spend time with the youth.
I am also spending the first few months intentionally starting small. There are a ton of amazing things happening and there are some things that could be improved on. I hope that by looking at small tweaks that will have big pay offs I can start to build more trust over time. If this is day one for you, don’t go nuts and feel like you need to scrap everything and start new. From my experience this usually ends badly. Remember, build up relationships, build up trust, create a vision together and leaders will walk with you into fresh ideas you may bring to the table.
If it is day one for you somewhere, congrats! If you have been in the same place for awhile, how can you begin to look at your program with fresh eyes? Get a mercenary to come evaluate your program or follow other programs on social media to get some of the best ideas!