youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, people

People Strategy

By Doug Franklin May 20, 2013

At LeaderTreks our greatest assets is our staff. If we build into our staff and give them our best than our partners will get our best. I use these three focuses in my people strategy:

I believe training should not start with a weekend retreat but with a profile. Take your best staff person and write down five (5) things that make him or her a great youth worker. Then take your worst, or least favorite, staff person and write down five things that make him or her your greatest challenge. Compare notes and develop a profile for the kind of staff person you want for your ministry. For example: what kind of personality do they have or what kind of habits do they have? From that profile, develop three (3) key words to describe that person. I shared this in the last issue. The three words I use to describe my staff are hungry, humble and disciplined.

Once you have this profile in place, develop your training material around it. Communicate to others the type of staff you need. Now, examine the staff you have. Make a mental note of where they are in relation to the profile. Provide training that will move your staff closer to the profile. When staff members consistently do not measure up, move them to other ministries. Only bring on new staff with the potential to fit the profile.

When new staff members join your team, have training that will quickly mold them to the profile. Focus your training on who you want the staff to be and how you want them to accomplish the vision.

When you evaluate your staff members, you will empower them. I know evaluation has a negative overtone but volunteers want to do a great job. Why else would they volunteer? Evaluation allows you to say “good job” or “here is where we are off the vision.” Evaluation helps the volunteer do a better job, which makes them more effective and happier.

Evaluation also establishes you as the leader and your vision as the direction of the ministry. I talk with a number of youth pastors and other leaders who feel like their team does not support them or buy into their vision. There is nothing like a personal evaluation to communicate who is in charge and what direction the ministry is going. Do not misunderstand me, evaluation will lead to some staff leaving the ministry but they will be the ones you wanted to rotate out anyway.

I believe evaluation is the road to greatness. Evaluation takes heart—be willing to do the hard work of evaluation so your team can experience the joy of accomplishing their mission.

Most ministries think rewarding their staff means having an appreciation dinner once a year. However, there are many ways you can reward your staff throughout the year that will cost you very little and make a world of difference.

Always give the credit to your staff. Whenever the chance comes, let church staff, parents and students know how much you value them. Write notes of appreciation. Write each staff person a note every month and let them know the difference they are making. Organize a night of babysitting with students for your adult volunteers so they can have a night out. Take your staff members to lunch whenever possible just to let them know you care and want to listen to their ideas. Reward them with greater participation in leadership. Give them responsibilities in the areas they enjoy.

Develop a reward system that works for you and makes your staff feel valued. They will serve the ministry with a greater commitment and the students will know the difference.

People make ministries work. When you have the right people, your job will be more rewarding and fun!

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