So, right now I and our youth ministry are on the edge of several growing points. These are things that are currently in development. The next few posts will share these

Developing High Capacity Lay Leaders

There’s no way we can afford to staff according to the ratios of many small church youth ministries (1 staff per 30-100 active students). Besides, there’s no biblical grounds for staffing like that anyway. The ministry belongs to the church–the people–and the pastor’s role is to equip and mobilize them. However, nor can we afford to maintain such a flat model of ministry as we have now where one youth pastor equips 50 adults and students ministering to the 270 that we have. Our program director (30 hours per week) is primarily administrative/programmatic and isn’t able to put much effort into equipping the lay staff for ministry. So, it’s on me. But, how many of us can handle such an intense relationship with that many adults/students who need such coaching and training on top of the relationships with the youth of the church and their parents, plus other staff and leadership?

It is vital that we develop high capacity lay leaders who can take on significant areas of ministry to groups of 40-80 students and teams of 6-12 adults ministering to those students. Furthermore, other areas of ministry beyond our small groups and classes must also be turned over to high capacity leaders and teams. My focus must then be on supporting them as they support their teams and students.

Here are the high capacity lay ministry roles we’re developing, right now. Each one then has a team of adults and students with whom they work.

  1. Middle School Team Lead (supports ministry with 90 students in grades 6-8 and 12 small group leaders)
  2. JV Team Lead (supports ministry with 65 students in grades 9 & 10 and 8 small group leaders)
  3. Varsity Team Lead (supports ministry with 45 students in grades 11 & 12 and 8 small group leaders)
  4. College Life Team Lead (supports ministry with 60+ college students & early young adults and 9 adult volunteers)
  5. Educational Team Lead (supports our Sunday program of christian education for 90 students in grades 6-12 and 5-7 teachers)
  6. Missions Team Lead (supports the development and implementation of all non-local missions and trips)
  7. Service Team Lead (supports the development and implementation of all local service opportunities and projects)
  8. Production Manager (supports the technical & production needs of the Wednesday night experience with a team of 5-7 production crew members)

I started praying for these roles last winter (one year ago). Of these roles, we currently have secured leads for Middle School, Missions, Service, and Production (though this will be turning over soon). We currently have interns as leads for JV & Varsity but I’d rather have adults from our congregation in these roles. We still need to develop the College Life and Christian Education team leads. We’re also currently working toward developing a new staff position for the Wednesday night worship experience.

I am convinced that for us, this is the best path for sustaining healthy ministry. But, I sure could use prayer here because it’s quite difficult to find high capacity leaders for such roles. They essentially have to play the role of a part-time or even full-time youth pastor as a lay person. This is something that only God can accomplish for these are roles that only God can call into place. But, what is true faith but one that believes in God for what only He can do?!

Author: Jim Murphy

Associate Pastor | NextGen Ministries Covenant Church, Bemidji, MN

Leave a Reply