Youth Specialties just had a great team training that had been promoting a tag line, “alone we go fast, togeth¬er we go far.” I believe that is right on, which is why it is so important to have a great team. You can have a fully staffed team and feel like because you have so many people it is going to be great, but the key part of that tag line is together. I was talking to my father-in-law about what makes a great team in ministry, and all his life he has been into rowing. He grew up on a lake and today owns a marina on that same lake. Still competitive at rowing, he mentioned that he could watch a local college team in a 4-person rowing shell out on the lake and that he could still beat them in a single. At first I thought, yeah right, then he continued to explain… “So long as one of the rowers is out of sync.”

That’s all it takes for a rowing team to slow down and begin to lose, one person out of sync.

Again the keyword is together. As a leader in youth ministry it is so important to surround yourself with the right people so that the whole ministry team is going in the same direction, rowing on the same beat, fulfilling the vision and mission that you have set forward in order to bring the gospel and the love of Jesus to those in your community and influence.

On the other end, it might be tempting to just accept that your team is not in sync and try to go fast alone. The problem is that youth ministry is a long distance race and you will eventually run out of energy. It’s always best when you have a strong team that can go far, stay on the same stroke and win in the end.

Some things to look for in a good team:

First and foremost – a leader at the helm who is first at all he/she asks of the team.

1. A team that is trying to be spiritually healthy first.
2. A team that is full of people that believe in the same vision and that are going in the same direction.
3. Team members that are positive. For too long I was negative about many things in life, this does not help a team. Constructive criticism in the right context is needed, but there should be no room for negativity.
4. Team members that are willing to stack hands at the end of the day. There will always be competing ideas, but at the end of the day – are you willing to set aside that your idea didn’t get chosen and move forward with the strength of the team?

Which of these 4 have you found working well in your ministry? Where is your team struggling? What changes, as a leader, can be made to help inspire others?

Kevin Klas has been in youth ministry for 10 years. He is currently the director of student ministries at Lake City Community Church in Lakewood, WA.