Who's On Your Team?

I went to the movie theater tonight to watch Knight and Day. The two stars of the movie are Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. They are the "stars" because they have name recognition and the plot of the movie focuses on the two of them. In fact, before I went to see the movie I didn't even know what its title was! I said to my wife, "Let's go see that movie with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz."

The movie was good. It had a blend of action, mystery, humor, and romance that will appeal to many people. My point is not to review the movie here, but rather to call attention to the hundreds of names that scroll up the screen when the movie is over and everyone is walking out.

That's right, 20th Century Fox spent $120 million (estimated) to produce the movie and I'm writing about the closing credits! As the names rose from the bottom to the top of the screen I was struck by the sheer number of people involved in making a movie. No one is left out. Everyone is included, from camera operators to travel agents, and film editors to hair/makeup stylists' personal assistants.

Tom Cruise can't make a movie by himself. He doesn't have the ability to compose the musical score for the movie. Beyond that, he can't even perform all the scenes that the script calls for his character to do (the list of stunt people for the movie is quite long).

The parallel to youth ministry should be obvious:
It takes a team of people to have an effective ministry.

There is only one youth pastor in most churches, and too often he/she plays - or is forced into - the role of the star. The microphone is always in their hands, the planning is isolated from interaction with others, and the expectation of involvement in students' lives falls squarely on their shoulders.

If teaching, planning, communicating, and participating are closed off from the valuable input of other people, then the youth pastor will quickly find themselves burned out and voicing the quote which I have heard all-too-often: "The Sundays are coming too fast."

This is not a question of convenient vs. inconvenient. Working with volunteers is seldom convenient. They have their own jobs, families, hobbies, and lives they are attending to already. If you are wise enough to request their assistance, please be humble enough to engage them at times which are helpful for them. This might require a Saturday morning breakfast meeting, but when volunteers are working close to 50 hours every week already, that's not too much to ask of you.

Gathering a team is a matter of survival in ministry. You cannot do it alone. You must find ways to open the lines of communication between yourself and other members of your church. Seek their input, recognize their contributions, and invite them to celebrate the little "victories" that come from that collaboration.

For more on this topic, check out:
No More Lone Rangers by David Chow
Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson

Who's on your team? Who do you need to ask to join your team today?


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