First Third Conversations

New ways of equipping leaders

By Julie Hagen

I’m done with winter, but according to the forecast, it looks like Mother Nature has a different opinion. I may be stuck in the cold for a little bit (or more) longer, but my church calendar is looking like summer! Summer registrations are open and we’re busy finalizing details and looking to the fall. 

Over the past few months, we’ve been blogging about the role of youth minister.  I’d like to add the youth minister as equipper. Ministry with young people is about relationships, which requires dedicated and faithful adults to help form the faith on our young people. It’s a struggle to find adults to fit our job descriptions and not such look for people to fill spots. And I’m hearing from more adults they are interested in being involved but do not feel equipped to be leaders.  That’s ok.  There’s an app for that!  (Ok, not really. But wouldn’t it be cool if we could say that to our leaders?!?)  The youth ministry as equipper is building relationships with adults and providing them with the tools they need to then build relationships with our young people.  And even though we’re still working on filling spaces for this weekend, recruiting leaders for next fall should begin now. 

Gone are the days of gathering adult leaders together after church to sign up for dates, provide training, talk about next year’s curriculum, and answer any questions they may have.  At the ELCA Youth Ministry Extravaganza this past January, John Roberto presented on Faith Formation in the 21st Century.  (His presentations are available on the Network website!)  The world is quickly advancing and the church is slowly trying to catch up.  How can we provide training that is both relevant and convenient for our leaders? 

We recently hosted a webinar for families of children interested in going to summer camp.  It was held on a Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. People registered for the event and were given a link to sign onto the night of the webinar. It worked great because it allowed parents to be ‘present’ from wherever they were, whether it was at home or their hotel room if they were travelling for work.  And the 3 of us who were hosting the webinar were each at our own homes, which was much better than another late night at church.  We each led our respective parts and then opened it up to questions at the end of our short presentation. The webinar was recorded and posted on our website almost immediately after the event for anyone who couldn’t be on the call. We’ve heard positive feedback and hope to use this for future trainings.    

I’ve seen numerous congregations post creative and instructive 5-7 minute video clips that are posted on Facebook and their website. Or what about posting a series of blogs sent to people’s cell phones that they can read as they are picking up their children from basketball practice or piano lessons?  Or an app for your smart phone? 

I’d love to hear from you. What training do you provide and what resources are you using to equip your leaders?

Join the conversation on!

Julie Hagen works with Lower Elementary children and families at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove. She is a pracitioner on the ground who is a First Third Voice for 2012-2013.

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