What happens when a leader is not a right fit to serve in the ministry? You know you need to but you don’t know how. My hope is that the following will help point you in the right direction.
The great part of having a great volunteer process is that it will help get the best leaders into your ministry (you can get the process I use HERE ON DYM). But with that, it means there will be some people who either decide that youth ministry is not for them… OR… You will need to decide if youth ministry is not for them.
It could be a tough thing to navigate but it will be a necessary thing that needs to happen for the betterment of your ministry. Here is a quick guide on what to do if a leader is not a good fit for your ministry:
Don’t beat around the bush: It is best on the last sit down just to let them know where you are at. Come into the meeting with a list of items/concerns of why it is not the best time for them to join the team. We don’t want to be mean but we do want to be direct.
Offer grace and truth: While we will let them know why they will not be joining our team, we want to be able to share it in a way they give them grace and a challenge to grow. It could be hard to hear for them and we want to be able to challenge them to grow. So delivery matters. So grace and be loving in tone.
Help them get connected to a ministry that better fits their gifting/passion: Instead of just saying, “Ok, bye now” offer to work with them and get them plugged into another ministry at the church and help them determine where that could be (depending on skill set and compatibility) and then either walk them over to meet with that department or email them and CC them so they can take it from there.
**If the potential leader is a red flag across the board, make the connection but then connect privately with that department to give them the heads up.
Give them some follow up steps and have them reapply: If they really want to be a youth leader but they are not mature enough, spiritually ready to lead etc, give them steps to see if they really are committed to leading in the ministry.
- Let’s have you join a small group for 6 months and then let’s talk again. I’ll keep your application on file and let’s touch base then.
- Let’s get you in the new believers class first and then let’s talk about you surviving after you complete that class to help better set you up to lead.
Don’t feel bad: If the process is doing what it’s designed to do, you will get better leaders serving in your ministry. It’s supposed to weed out people who might not be able to do what you need leaders to do. Don’t feel bad for having a good process to determine the best leaders in your ministry.
From my experience, when we have a pretty hefty volunteer process the end result is so much better. We get leaders who know what they are doing, they are excited and set up well to disciple students and they are bought into the ministry like never before. All of those things will help you grow AND make sure you disciple well.
**Extra bonus for new youth pastors or deciding to become more structured in your volunteer process: As you develop your process, it’s okay to gently, but proactively, ask existing volunteers to go through the new process. It can be a great check in to see how they are doing serving in the ministry. It also can provide a great off-ramp for the leaders who might not be as bought in as they used to be and we can give them permission to step out. It might not be ideal because we want to gain leaders, but we don’t just want warm bodies. We want well-trained, focused leaders.