leadertreks youth ministry volunteer discipleship training

Coach Volunteers for Impact

By Doug Franklin June 23, 2014

If that’s you, stop pretending and ask someone at your church or one nearby for help. Most youth workers don’t start in youth ministry understanding how to coach small group leaders. As odd as it sounds, you have to learn how to teach. It’s okay to ask for help.

Just so we are clear, giving the Bible lesson outline to group leaders is not the same as training them to teach its content. Most adult volunteers don’t know the first thing about teaching students. They don’t understand how to keep students’ attention, how to make measurable applications, or how to deal with behavior issues without losing students’ respect.

If you don’t take the time to teach and evaluate each small group leader, you’re setting them up for failure. They’ll grudgingly serve out the time they’ve committed to and leave as soon as they can.

Why not build a strong, resilient team? That’s the best use of your time. Just look at the math. Each of us has the ability to impact about three to five students. So if you develop 10 small group leaders, you can impact 50 students. That’s a lot better than five.

Youth workers, now is the time to turn your small group ministry around. Commit to coaching your small group leaders. Here are four keys to keep in mind when training adult volunteers:

1. Be sincere. You don’t have to pretend to be an expert. Just be yourself. Your leaders will know if you’re faking it, and they’ll appreciate you are being you.

2. Be consistent. Stay in regular contact with your leaders. If you allow large periods of time to go by without connecting with them, they won’t feel your support.

3. Be encouraging. Remember, leaders tend to be hard on themselves. So find things they’re doing well and encourage them.

4. Be honest. When you see a leader doing something that is negatively impacting their influence, let them know. Confront them in a loving way, with honesty. They’d rather hear a little constructive criticism than obliviously misdirect students.


About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More