Throughout my life I’ve been on a lot of teams. There have been baseball teams, basketball teams and now that I’m old – slow-pitch softball teams. Some of these teams I’ve played for and others I’ve coached, but perhaps my favorite team was my youth ministry Core Team.
There are few things more rewarding than working together with other dedicated Catholics to lead teenagers closer to Christ. As you take time to evaluate your ministry this summer, consider these five things that make great Core Teams:
- Leadership. In order to have a great team, you must have great leadership. Without it your team will be destined for failure. Great leaders don’t settle for mediocrity but instead are determined to do whatever it takes to make their team great. They lead by example, get the best out of others, and are willing to make the tough decisions. If you want to do great youth ministry, you need great leadership, and that begins with the Youth Minister. Take a look first at the way you lead and be honest with yourself. For an added bonus, let your Core Team evaluate you too.
- Unity. If you had to choose between a group of people working together for their own personal agendas or a group of people working together for a common goal, which would you choose? Great teams must be united, and unity means that sometimes you have to be willing to put aside your own agendas for the sake of the common goal. This is definitely true when it comes to Core Teams. Not every Core Member will get along, and not every Core Member will agree with every decision, but if you’re not willing to work together and be united, you don’t stand a chance. How unified is your Core Team, and if this is a struggle, what can you do to improve it?
- Humility. One thing that helps teams to be more unified is humility. While it’s important to note that humility often begins with the leader, it’s also important to recognize that it can’t stop there. The more humble your whole Core Team is, the more effective your ministry will be. Why? Because as you grow in humility, the ministry becomes more about how God is moving and less about how you look. During my years as a Youth Minister, my Core Team adopted the motto, “We Go”, which meant: “It’s not about ego, it’s about we go.” Ultimately, this means that there was no role too big or too small because every role was for the greater glory of God. So, how is your humility, and how can you grow more humble as a team?
- Passion. Imagine playing on a basketball team where no one wanted to win. You probably wouldn’t do too well, would you? The same is true for your youth ministry Core Team. If you’re not passionate about leading teens closer to Christ, then how will you ever be able to do it? Too often Core Teams go through the motions of ministry, forgetting the beauty of what God has called them to. What kind of passion does your Core Team have for this mission? And if there is a lack of passion, what needs to be done about it?
- Authenticity. The best teams I’ve ever seen or been a part of show a high level of authenticity. This means that not only are the “players” willing to be honest with their teammates, but they are also willing to allow their teammates to be honest with them. The more authentic Core Members are with each other, the more authentic teens will be with the Core Team. Teens can spot a fake, and nowhere is this more true than with the Core Team. So, how is your level of authenticity and how can you grow to be more authentic with each other as a team?
Ultimately, these five things will lead to a deeper sense of holiness for your Core Team. While they are not the only characteristics of great Core Teams, they serve as a good starting point as you seek to bring your ministry from being good to being great. Now, what about you? What are some other characteristics that you’ve seen that make Core Teams great?