One of the things I’m most excited about this year in ministry are my leaders. We met last week for training and I walked away thinking, “There’s one word to describe that meeting: Holy.”

One reason why I’m particularly excited about this group of leaders is that half are returning and half are new. There is, I think, a sacredness in that combination. Returning leaders bring so much to a leadership team. For me, the five biggest things veteran leaders bring to my team are:

Institutional knowledge: Veteran leaders know how things in your ministry are done. When it comes to your youth ministry, they have institutional knowledge. They understand your vision and have chosen to continue saying yes to serving because they agree with it. They know why you start with a game at your midweek program and why your summer calendar includes a mission trip. They know the flow of your programming year and are energized by it.

Wisdom: Veteran leaders bring wisdom to your ministry. Because they have a working understanding of your ministry’s vision, they can be trusted to make decisions that support it. Veteran leaders also bring wisdom to the team about how to do ministry in your specific context. They know how to prep the curriculum you use. They know the best way to relate to their specific small group. They know how to minister to parents and which parents will need extra care throughout the year. 

Chemistry: If leaders aren’t a good fit in your ministry, they won’t return. If they’re not enjoying themselves, contributing to your team, and being fed themselves, they won’t keep coming back. So, if a veteran keeps saying yes to serving, they’ve got chemistry with you. When others see deep relationships between people who serve together, they want to be part of that too. Chemistry is attractive to new and old leaders alike. When chemistry exists between leaders, doing ministry is enjoyable for everyone.  

Relational capital: Not only do veteran leaders know you and your ministry, they also know your students. They bring relational capital with them that can only be formed through an ongoing investment in a relationship over time. The more relational capital a leader has, the more effective they’ll be in ministry.

A desire to teach others: Veteran leaders are excited by your ministry (why else would they keep doing it?) Their excitement causes them to want to share your ministry with others. One great way for veteran leaders to do that is by teaching others. Most come with a desire to do so. Capitalize on that by giving veteran leaders opportunities to informally and formally share their wisdom with your team’s rookies.

What other contributions do veteran leaders make to your leadership team?