March Madness is in full swing and we love it in our house. (Let’s go Hawkeyes!!) As we have been watching it there are segments about the teams, players, and coaches that highlight how they made it into the tournament. In almost every single segment there is a focus on the training and community that the players and coaches have, and it highlights how necessary those components are to a championship level team.
The same can be said of our leaders: without the proper training and community we will not have the higher caliber teams we desire to help disciple our students. We must intentionally focus on generating training for our leaders in order to help them grow and mature in their skill sets and talents so they have the best opportunity to lead and pour into their students. But the question we need to think through is this: what is drawing our leaders to participate in training?
Today, I want to highlight some key reasons why leader training is important and necessary. These are aspects you can communicate out to your leaders in order to generate excitement and anticipation for the training you will be hosting. If you’re looking for ways to make leader training more than “typical training,” check out this post for some helpful resources.
It values our leaders and what they are doing.
When we host training opportunities it communicates that we see our leaders and value them enough to care about their growth and development. Training tells our leaders we desire for their gifts and strengths to be developed and we want to encourage them to be stretched and grown. Training shows them that they aren’t simply a warm body but a needed and integral part of the ministry and you want to help to develop them as they serve the ministry.
It encourages of growth.
Good leaders replicate leaders. When you are growing and developing it will be replicated to your people because you have seen its worth and value and want to share that with your team. This mentality will help your leaders to not only be excited about training but to also see opportunities for personal growth and development.
It allows us to share the “why” and the “value.”
Training allows you as the ministry leader to highlight why you are doing what you are doing, and the importance and value to what you are doing. There will be moments or seasons in every leader’s life where they ask, “Why am I still doing this?” It may be because of a tough interaction with a student, or a difficult season with a small group, or not seeing change in the lives of their students. Discouragement can happen to anyone. Instead of resting in it we need to help our leaders remember why we are doing what we are doing and the value of pouring into young people. Reminding them of these aspects will help to encourage, strengthen, and challenge your leaders to persevere and continue to pour into their students.
It builds community and unity.
Typically, teams are made of very different and unique people which is probably true of your volunteer leaders. I know I have people with different personalities, ages, backgrounds, influences, and skill sets and when you ask them to lead together it may seem like a tall task. But when you host trainings it allows you to help your team build community and unity by bringing them together, highlighting different gifts and skill sets, and allowing them to have fun together.
One of the things I love to do at our trainings is have food, partly because I like to eat but also because food fosters conversation and community. There’s a reason people tend to be more chatty around a table or at a restaurant. It’s because food helps us to lower our walls. So having food is a great opportunity to encourage community. You can also add in a mixer or some type of activity to get your group engaging with one another, and you can incorporate trainings that highlight unity and working together through differences. These types of atmospheres will help your team grow closer together as you unite to reach your students with the Gospel.
It allows us to answer questions our leaders have.
Our leaders are always being peppered with questions from students or they have questions for us about topics students raise. I try to be as helpful as I can during our programming, but often that doesn’t present the adequate amount of time needed to address questions. I have also noticed that if one leader has a question, whether their own or one raised by their small group, other leaders tend to have the same or similar questions as well.
Trainings allow us to go in-depth on questions our leaders are being asked. It also gives you another opportunity to help foster community and unity as leaders realize they aren’t alone in dealing with these questions and topics. These opportunities allow us to provide insight, guidance, and resources to our people to help them work with and love their students well.
I would also encourage you to utilize different voices when answering these questions. You may have veteran youth leaders who have already dealt with these topics and inviting them to share will do amazing things for your other volunteers. Also, consider bringing in outside personnel if applicable to help handle some of the questions and topics that are outside of your skill set or expertise.
It provides an opportunity to focus on your mission and vision.
When we take our leaders through training opportunities, it allows you to continue to drip your mission and vision into all that you do. You can help your leaders focus and remember what the ministry is striving to do. So as you walk through your training objectives, remember to bring it back to how these trainings help to embrace and advance your missional philosophy.
It allows your team to have fun together.
I love getting our leadership teams together because it provides an opportunity to hang out and enjoy life with one another. We are blessed to have leaders who enjoy spending time together and these trainings allow extended opportunities for them to fellowship and have fun. This happens over meals, through team building activities and icebreakers, and by creating intentional moments of community at each of our training events. These moments help your team to truly gel and have a good time with one another while still being on mission together for the advancement of the Gospel.