best practices for leadership

Can You Have Too Many Leaders?

Last week, we successfully completed Vacation Bible School, and I had a conversation with a friend whose kids attended. I asked for feedback, and his response was, "It seems like you had too many leaders." It's not a comment you hear often, and it's a problem that many of us would love to have. As strange as the comment was, he was partially right and partially wrong.

We indeed had a lot of leaders who were middle and high school students. As a former youth minister, it warmed my heart to see the next generation so dedicated. However, we lacked a sufficient number of adult leaders. On the other hand, if we consider the number of adults we had, it seemed like we had enough, so what was the problem? Why did it look like we had too many?

We could have managed all of our volunteers better.

In my opinion, you can never have too many leaders or volunteers. The challenge lies in effective management, which can make it feel like you don't have enough help or that there are too many people involved. Although we had the numbers, we didn't have the necessary leaders in place to ensure smooth operations.

Regardless of the size of your ministry team, the number of people serving will never fully satisfy you. However, what truly matters is how you manage the team. So, whether your ministry has one volunteer or a hundred, here's what you need to know about effective management:

Never underestimate the value of training

Training may sometimes seem like a luxury, but without it, you'll encounter chaos and unmet expectations. When recruiting someone to serve, it's crucial to provide them with proper training beyond simply knowing the content. Show them how to prepare for a session or class, introduce them to others who can assist them along the way, and ensure they know what to do when they face uncertainty. Additionally, even during the camp week, allocate 15 minutes before or after sessions to provide tips on improving their performance.

Delegate the burden through reporting structures

Author Jason Evanish highlights four problems in his article "Why Everything Breaks When You Reach 25 Employees," with one of them being the inability to manage everyone yourself. Attempting to do so leads to juggling a million different tasks. As your team grows, you need to share the burden by delegating management responsibilities to others. Your team managers don't have to be the most talented or knowledgeable individuals; they should excel at managing people and communicating clearly. They shouldn't seek the spotlight or attempt to do everything themselves. Look for individuals who can manage conflict, egos, and motivate others.

Communicate, communicate, communicate, repeat

You cannot overemphasize the importance of communication. Whether it's conveying the ministry's vision or providing information on where to find extra supplies, you must communicate repeatedly. As a leader, one of the most critical skills to develop is clear communication. If your team doesn't know or understand what to do, they will only hinder progress and make mistakes.

When strategically planning your ministry, dedicate time to create a communication plan. Carefully craft your emails (and have someone review them), practice what you're going to say, and don't hesitate to reiterate the message multiple times. When your team receives the message clearly, it builds trust and confidence. Clear communication empowers your team members to understand their roles and make independent decisions when troubleshooting.

People are messy; therefore, management is too

As your team grows, managing them becomes increasingly challenging due to the accompanying mess. Growth brings change, and although we desire it, we often become upset when it affects us directly.

Managing people in general is messy because it involves emotions and dealing with personal issues that impact the ministry. Embrace patience and learn forgiveness. At times, you'll need to set aside personal matters to support a volunteer or staff member who is learning something new or going through a difficult time. Actively listen and offer empathy. The more you walk alongside your team, the less likely they are to walk away.

Never stop investing in your own formation

As your team grows, your management style will evolve, making your personal development as a leader crucial. Never stop investing in yourself, particularly regarding human formation, such as conflict management and public speaking. Your interactions with people and delegation of tasks will change.

What worked with a small team won't necessarily work with a larger one. Alongside human formation, invest in your spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral growth. The more you equip yourself with resources, strategies, and God's grace, the better you'll be at sharing those with your team. Healthy leaders build healthy teams.

Remember, you can never have too many leaders. Your team will only be too big if you're not prepared to address the growth and changing dynamics. Don't be afraid of having a large team because empowering more people to do God's work allows the spread of the Good News. Continue investing in yourself, and if you desire more resources on leading and supporting others, subscribe to our Premium Newsletter HERE or sign up for a free coaching consultation HERE.

Similar posts

Get notified on blog posts, updates and all things MYM

Be the first to know about new happenings from Marathon Youth Ministry Inc, from blog posts, to webinars and professional development opportunities.