Leadership Institute

I returned home from an incredible few days at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. I was there for a 3-day conference called Leadership Institute. It was an action-packed few days and I’m still processing everything I learned.

I will be bringing you lots of things that I learned over the next few weeks but for now I’m going to break things down by day. Here’s Day 0 and Day 1!

My husband and I arrived in Kansas City on Tuesday evening. The Pre-Institute began on Wednesday morning at 7am. We each took 2 classes for the pre-institute. Those classes were 3 1/2 hours each and were concentrated information. We had a delicious BBQ lunch between our two classes. One of the classes that I took was a bust. I wasn’t impressed. The second, however, was incredible. It was a forum and we did a lot of discussion. I love Youth Ministry Forums because it is a fantastic way to “borrow” ideas. It reminded me a lot of our youth ministry gatherings. (If you haven’t attended a youth ministry gathering, please consider joining us this month!) We discussed burnout, leading through change, and building a youth ministry beyond ourselves.


    • To avoid burnout you need to take time for yourself and remember the Sabbath. God created the world, not you!
    • Take time with other youth workers because you need others to hold you accountable. Youth Worker Gatherings is a great way to do this!
    • Check out servingleaders.org for more information on caring for yourself.
    • If we do all of our programming on Sundays we are sending a message to our students that they are a Christian on Sunday exclusively. Spreading things out or at least giving students the opportunity to practice their faith during the week reminds them that they are a Christian in all things.
    • Having a clearly defined process steers you away from stuff that doesn’t fit with why you are doing ministry. Ask yourself, “Does this fit with our purpose?” before you add it to the calendar, say yes, or volunteer for something new. If it doesn’t, don’t add it!

Leading through change

    • Leading through change is challenging because it takes people a long time to adapt a change. People need to become aware of a change, have an understanding of what is going to change, have a positive feeling about the change, and adopt the change before the change is considered institutional. This could take years.
    • It is very important to clearly communicate change and think through all potential outcomes before presenting it. Have people already on your side before presenting to the larger group.
    • Over-communicate about the change. Make sure everyone knows and you’ve answered every question – those asked and those unasked.
    • Your leadership MUST be on board in making a change.

Building a Youth Ministry beyond yourself

  • A healthy ministry can survive without YOU for 2-3 weeks. Make sure that you’re working towards a place where you could step out of the ministry for several weeks and it would continue to function.
  • Train up leaders and then let go.
  • Don’t ask, expect. Raise the expectations of your church members. Expect them to volunteer. Give them choices of WHERE to serve, not IF to serve.
  • Model servant leadership.
  • Write Thank You Notes.
  • Follow this model when raising up volunteers: I teach, you watch. You teach, I watch. You teach.

Wednesday evening was delightful – we went out to eat with friends in ministry. We discussed all we learned and were excited about what was to come.