I want to ask you the same question I asked my team this week in our meeting.
“If your leaders were hanging out with their students they lead as much as you have been hanging out with your leaders, would your students be discipled well?”
Stop spending so much time with students. Start investing your time with leaders.
I know that will probably rub people the wrong way, but hear me out.
I know it seems counterintuitive to spend less time with students, especially as youth pastors, to hang out with the adults who lead in your ministry. But you need to stop spending that much time with students yourself.
I am not saying not to hang out with students ever. 100% you should be with students. All I am saying is we need to switch our priorities a bit and spend more of that time with leaders who hang out with students. I have seen that this is when ministry and the culture you want to develop really begins to take shape.
Because the more time you spend with leaders—pouring into them, spending time with them—they are getting to hear how you care for them and hear your heart and vision for the ministry. In turn, they repeat and replicate it with the students they lead. Maybe not word for word, but the same care you show to your leaders as an example will be replicated from them to the students they lead.
The more time you spend with leaders, the more they repeat and replicate your heart and vision with students.
I know I am good at developing people. But I am not good enough at it to care for all our students in the same way. We should treat our leaders as if they were in a small group we are leading. So the same care, the time, the energy we would spend with students—spend it on leaders.
There is always a return on investment, and not just any return. Exponential return.
Because you can multiply yourself. This will help with leader care, student care, the culture you are striving to achieve for your services and groups, and ultimately it will allow you to be more effective.
This is something I see a lot of youth leaders get stuck on. I believe if they were to switch some of their time and energy to leaders they would see a dramatic difference in their ministries.