February 10, 2009 PhilBell

Step aside and let leaders Speak

If you knew that you could make changes in your ministry to present God’s truth to students more effectively, would you make them?  Seems like a no brainer right? One of the best ways to present God’s truth more effectively is to step aside and let other leaders speak…

Why is that so difficult for some of us?  Let’s be honest, if you are like me,  it’s very easy to come up with reasons for not making use of volunteers in this way…

First, it’s easy to conclude that their volunteer status equals poor messages… Not true. 

Second, it could mean that we have to plan far in advance… Not easy for some of us!

Third, after we have met with the leader and walked them through the message,  we could have written it ourselves in less time… This is true, but would it be more effective? 

All seem like compelling reasons?  However, here’s why it is imperative to to invest, equip, and empower our volunteers to give messages: 

1) They are Different: As hard as this is to admit, students in our ministries will tune us out week after week. No matter how dynamic we are,  kids will naturally tune us out.  I have a British accent and my youth ministry friends say I could talk about anything and it would be interesting… I wish!  I tell them, yes, the new kids love it… (if they can understand me at first), but give them a few months and it’s old!  Our leaders are a different face, have a different style, and different ways of thinking through things… Your students have different learning styles and different ways to think through things too… We cannot cover the whole ‘bandwidth’ of students personalities and learning styles on our own. 

2) Planning Pays Off Volunteers will present poorly if we give them short notice… When we plan ahead in a series, we can give leaders 4-6 weeks to think and work on a message.  Leaders perform better when they have time to pray and think through their message. If we are not planning this far ahead, we are not helping our leaders succeed. 

3) Investment  Pays Off. Recently two leaders gave messages for me and I have invested hours of time into both of them. They both have good communication skills and a strong faith and these most recent messages were the best I have seen them give. We would all agree that their first messages were shaky and not as concise as they could be, (do you remember your first message?) Investment pays off as we take time to encourage, tweak and improve their skills. 

4) Get the Night off and Lead: When a leader gives the message for me and I am able to take the night off from speaking, I am able to lead better. I can step back and assess the program from a different vantage point and see tweaks we need to make that I would not normally see.  Finally, I can invest more relational time with leaders and students. It’s great for students and leaders to see us laughing and being a part of the group in a different way…

Is it time to step aside and let leaders speak? 

Phil <><

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About the Author

PhilBell Phil Bell is a Family Ministry pastor with over 15 years of experience ministering to families. He holds a Masters in Christian Ministry and is a national speaker, columnist, author, and blogger. He’s passionate about investing in families and equipping parents to reach the next generation for Christ. He’s originally from England and now lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife Lisa and their three beautiful kids.

Comments (2)

  1. Phil,

    Great thoughts about using others. I am in the middle of our Lovesick series (related to helping students understand how to establish and maintain moral boundaries) and I’m planning on having one of our youth leaders wrap up the series with her story and a few points she’d like to make related to the series. I like to teach in a series so that I can invite a number of gifted leaders to step up and use their gifts (speaking, music, drama, etc). You are right… the key is to plan ahead! Having my youth worker friend come in at the end of the series is or (near the end) will hopefully give them a since of where I am meaning to go with it all and they can then “piggy back” or even build on prior teachings.

  2. Ok… I got interrupted while typing my comments and hit send before I was truly ready to submit them.. Here now is a better “final thought”.

    Having my youth worker friend come in and teach / share at the end of the series (or near the end of it) will hopefully give her a since of my intended direction and she will likely have little trouble reinforcing or even building on the prior teachings.

    If you can edit my post… that’d be great.

    ~ Todd 🙂

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