“If only we had more quality Core members – we could…..”
“We can’t get our Core to commit.”
“My biggest struggle is with the Core.”
These are all things I have heard Catholic youth leaders say in the last year. The model of having a team of leaders who are responding to a Baptismal call to serve teens can be a really effective model. In concept it potentially takes so much pressure off a single youth leader to do all the outreach, planning and relational ministry. In practice, it can help parishes reach more teens for Christ. So why is it that it is so hard to find and keep good Core members? Maybe it’s time to look in the mirror and see what we may be doing that may be a roadblock to keeping Core members at our parish.
Here are 4 Reasons Why Core Members Quit:
1.) The Ministry Doesn’t Know Where it is Going Nor How the Core Team Member Fits With it
A few years ago I first visited Benedictine College in Kansas. The college president Steve Minnis articulated the vision for the college with clear and enthusiastic language. As I toured the campus, I was amazed at how well the faculty and even many of the students could articulate the vision for the college. It was clear to me that people knew the vision and what part they played in it. If your ministry does not have a clear goal or vision, core team members will not be focused and left to their own vision for what you are trying to do with youth ministry at your parish. Core members need to know the deeper purpose for the ministry. Titles don’t mean commitment – a bigger purpose does. How clear is the vision? How clear are you communicating it? Can your Core team articulate that vision to others? Does your Core Team know what role they play in the vision?
2.) Life Becoming Imbalanced, Heavily in Favor of Ministry
People normally start out very enthusiastic about being on the Core team. There is an unlimited amount of ministry available as there are more and more teens to reach. The natural response is to volunteer additional time to the point where life can become imbalanced and tilted heavily towards the ministry side, sometimes at the neglect of Core member families. Eventually the Core team member’s family can grow to resent the ministry or the Core member grows tired by being pulled in so many directions. Are you helping your Core team members to avoid imbalance by setting realistic expectations? Are you maintaining so few Core Team members by not continually recruiting Core, leaving a heavy burden on just a few Core team members?
3.) Because They no Longer Believe That it Will Ever Get Any Better or be Different.
Core team dynamics is an important part of being on Core. How we form our Core team really makes a difference in the level they are willing to commit. Ministry is tough at times. Core members are normally accepting of difficult times. What makes some Core members jump ship is the feeling that it will never get better. If there are unhealthy situations among your Core team, ways you can improve communication, plan further in advance, pray more or whatever is a strain on your team – take action and don’t allow the situations to erode confidence and morale. How well do you deal with conflict? How teachable have you remained in ministry? Do you respond to challenges and difficulties with prayer and action? Your Core team needs you to maintain hope that things can improve and that you are always striving to make things better.
4.) They Don’t Feel Cared About as a Person.
Core members are volunteering their time. It is critical that their service is valued by you and the parish. Do you spend time one on one with each Core member to see how they are doing, give them feedback or simply to celebrate some way that God worked through them to reach teens? Do you thank them and acknowledge their sacrifice in serving on Core? Do you treat them with respect and follow through with what you promise them? We can be so busy ministering side by side with others that we can skip the step of being present to each other. Do you know how each one of your Core team members is feeling about the ministry? What is the relationship they have with God right now. What are the things you can be doing to help them? Does each Core member on your team feel valued?
So where are you at with these 4? They say it is easier to keep good people involved than to recruit and train new ones. Take a minute and think about your Core team, each person involved are they in danger of quitting because of any of the above reasons?