Communication is one area in which youth pastors and youth leaders have a terrible reputation. The reason for this reputation and stereotype is simply because a lot of youth workers are terrible at it. Youth workers are the fun, energetic, young, artistic, active, fly by the seat of their pants types who often forget to communicate with the people around them. However, communication is one of the most important areas of a youth pastor or youth leader’s job. Mastering just a few simple areas of communication can benefit the ministry in so many ways.
Most youth leaders and pastors need to improve their communication to…
Students seem like the obvious ones because we are always talking with them. But often times our systems for communicating with students are lacking. I am not talking about the day to day conversations or even the messages from up front but rather the systems we have in place for letting them know of up coming events, deadlines, trips, etc. It is also important to keep in mind the communication the leader has with students that are not part of the youth group (yet!). How are they hearing about what is going on? Here are a few of the things I have seen success with…
1. Begin announcing EARLY
2. Create flyers for events (for students, and for distribution).
3. Get on social media (find out what social media the students and their friends are using and create one for the youth group)
Volunteers are the bread and butter of the ministry. If the ministry is anything like mine volunteers are essential to making it run! It is important that they feel like they are informed about what is going on so they don’t just show up and get blindsided with the what is happening. Here is what I do to make sure my leaders and I are on the same page BEFORE a youth group or event.
1. Weekly emails with the full agenda including times and activities so they know what is going on before they get there
2. Quick staff meetings 30min prior to every youth group or event to go over the run sheet
3. Discuss what is coming up in the future at volunteer meetings and HAND OUT event calendars, sermon calendars, etc to your volunteers
Parents can be some of your biggest supporters, or some of your biggest gluteal pain! I know, some parents are just difficult to deal with but a lot of times issues with parents can be cleared up with communication. You don’t have to let them in on every single thing that is going on or even give them anywhere near the info that you give your volunteers but they do want to know what is going on in the youth group that they send their student to every week (which is reasonable, if you think about it). Here are some of the things I have seen help…
1. Monthly parent emails recapping last month and laying out the calendar for the next month.
2. Parent meetings before the fall programming begins and before summer activities begin.
4. Senior pastor
The senior pastor staff (or supervising pastor) wants to be on your side! But it makes it very difficult for this to happen if they don’t know what is going on within your group or know of any issues that arise. Again, they don’t need to know every move you make or every little detail of your events but it is important that they are informed of what is going on. Communication with the senior staff is not just for their benefit. It will help you out in major ways in the long run. Here are some ways to help those avenues of communication…
1. Sit downs weekly to discuss what is going
2. CC them on emails. (not all of them, but on anything you think they should know about)
3. Inform them via text, email, or face to face of major issues that come up so they are not blindsided by them. YOU deal with them but let them know about what happened so they don’t hear about it from someone else.
Communication can take a little extra effort on your part but in the long run I promise you it will make your job easier and more fruitful!!