For this year our team has been working through some key strategies to keeping and retaining leaders in this growing season of our ministry. For Sandals Youth, we have small groups a part of our normal part of our midweek programming. So every student who attends services gets placed into small groups.

We also have the goal of having two leaders per small group. So every leader we have is a small group leader. We need to keep focused on meeting regularly with all of our leaders to help them feel like we know them, ask them how they are doing and provide an opportunity for feedback on our end.

So how are we planning on doing that?

Leaders on the weekend. 

Sounds life changing right? It’s not. It just means I am challenging our team to be WAY more intentional with their time on the weekends. Even if you have services on the weekends and not midweek, I think busting your butt on the weekends to make sure you are meeting with your leaders is one of the most important things you can do to take good care of your existing ones.


Here is a quick list:

  • On weekends, for the most part, our youth leads don’t have direct weekend responsibilities. They have to be there and be available to jump in and make relationships. We challenged our team to set up at least 2 meetings per weekend (before or after service) to sit down for 15 minutes with a leader. It’s a great intentional way to have good quality time.
    • Even if you have student services on the weekend, this is something I would still stress highly.
  • Leaders are already there and this allows them not to be out another night during the week. No more trying to get together on a random Tuesday. You have to be there. They come to church there. Utilize that time more effectively.
  • Touch ins allow you to be their pastor. It allows you to gauge where they are at, to get feedback, and to keep accountable for correcting conversations if you need to have them.
  • I always ask 3 main questions in every meeting I have ever done with leaders:
    • How are you? (Because I care for them as a person. If we don’t get to the other questions, that is okay. This one is that important).
    • How do you think you’re doing in the ministry as a leader?
    • What can I do to make what you do better? (Allows for a safe environment for feedback and voices to be heard)
  • Overall as we grow, it is a better use of your time for pouring into leaders who pour into students.
  • It allows for connections for recruiting new leaders to join as group leaders.
  • When leaders feel poured into on a personal level, they are willing to back you on tougher decisions because you know them and they know you and your heart for the ministry.
  • The result is better, more communicated and cared for leaders.

The big picture?

What are you doing with the time that both of you are at church at the same time on the same day?

Does that make for a busy Sunday? For sure. But I would much rather pack in my Sunday and not have to be out another night of the week… my wife and my leaders would thank me.

It’s not a mind-blowing idea, but not utilizing our time wisely is something I have noticed amongst youth pastors. Our leads have already seen a better connection with leaders and leaders are more connected to their leader.


Justin Knowles