Our ministries are able to function the way they do because of the generosity of our leaders with their talents and their time. Let’s make sure we do everything we can to communicate our thankfulness to them!
1. Equip them. Meet with them individually before your events this summer and let them know what to expect. Send them emails with every detail you can gather, including packing lists. Some leaders have never served on an overnight experience before and will appreciate some suggestions.
2. Provide some PERKS for them. Caffeine is a crucial resource for many youth leaders. Help them prepare for the day of the big trip by giving them a gift card to a local coffee shop that they can use on their way to the church.
3. Let them know how SWEET they are. Obtain a list of your leaders’ favorites before the trip. Bring each leader’s favorite candy bar and attach a note. Give them the candy bar a few days into their trip to give them an energy boost!
4. Say the WORDS. Bring stationary with you and write each leader a quick thank you or encouragement during the week. Be specific and tell them something awesome you’ve seen them do on your trip.
5. Pray with them. Your leaders pour their time, energy and love into your students. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel empty. Taking the time to pray both with them and for them, allows the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to recharge them in the specific ways that they need.
6. Serve them. Look for ways to serve them as they serve your students. Ask them what they need. Clear their dishes at meal times. Load their suitcases on the bus.
7. Create team moments just for them. Creating a culture of a leadership team will make leaders feel valued and part of a community. This can look like a meal together, a game during free time or just lingering around after an adult meeting to chat and laugh together. You know you already have something in common … you love your students!
8. Get to know them as individuals. Summer trips have multiple opportunities for you to get to know your leaders on a whole new level. Ask them about their family, hobbies, sports teams – anything – because building those relationships will strengthen your ministry.
9. Celebrate wins with them. Did something great happen in their small group time? Cheer with them! Did they get to baptize a student for the first time? Go crazy with them! Were they able to have a break-through moment with a difficult student? Let them know how powerful their ministry is!
10. Be available for questions. There are times when leaders need answers quickly and they’ll appreciate a group text thread, or an app such as GroupMe, so that everybody can be on the same page. It’s easy to get extremely busy with students and unintentionally ignore the leaders. A great way to love your leaders and show them appreciation is by making yourself available for support and assistance!
In order to promote longevity in our team of leaders, we have to make sure we have their needs in mind. Meeting these needs will have a direct result in their energy and ability to meet the needs of the students we’ve asked them to love.
Cindy Branton is the social media manager for CIY’s Believe and SuperStart programs. She is also the proud parent of Brielle, Braelyn and Briarly. Her email is email@example.com.