I LOVE my Core! People who know me, know that I don’t use that word lightly – ask any Area Contact who’s been to Covecrest recently…. but I really do love my Core Team!
Yet, truth be told, as a youth minister there is still a part of me – way deep down – that has kept me from completely turning over Life Nights, retreats, or events over into their very capable hands.
Sound familiar? Sure, I let them set up environments, give the teachings, head up small groups, run games and activities. But typically I like to be on “standby,” just in case I need to “save the day.” Not saying I want to, but you never know. Call it controlling, or prideful, or simply a lack of trust – whatever you call it, it is wrong.
A couple of weeks ago, 44 of us went on a Life Teen retreat – 2.5 hours away from home, way north (that’s really far in Canadian). Saturday evening, I started not feeling very well. I pulled the typical guy routine: “I’m just gonna rest a bit, but I’ll be back, don’t worry.” But my body had other plans; I quickly became the most sick I’ve been in over 10 years! I couldn’t sit up straight, let alone run a retreat. As my body fought a losing battle against a very ugly virus, I was terrified at what may be going on OUTSIDE my room – was anyone lost? Curfews broken? Did everyone know what the curfew was? Who was in charge? Do I smell smoke?
By 10 am the next day, I staggered out of bed to find everyone finishing breakfast, rooms packed up, the morning environment set, items cleaned up and put away – in a word – PERFECT. Core Members had assumed my role in the morning session without missing a beat. Turns out the Core got it all done – without me.
This same Core Team had attended a Life Teen training back in November. They got the message, they had done the preparation, they took the training to heart, and they could do the job without me. Praise God, I am replaceable! My ministry is not dependant on me and there is such freedom in that knowledge.
In our rush to “sign up” volunteers, we can take for granted that people will learn “on the fly” or we promise to get around to training them when things “quiet down.”
Take a moment and ask, if something happened to YOU before the next Life Night or retreat, would/could the event continue? Have you trained, empowered and allowed your Core Team so that they could “carry the ball” in your absence?
If the honest answer is “No, probably not” then I’d encourage you to do something about that! LOVE your teens enough to ensure that they are surrounded with confident men and women of God who can offer them the best! LOVE your Core and honor them enough to invest in them. Investing resources, time and energy to train your Core Members helps make the message clear that who they are and what they do is CRITICAL to the success of the Life Teen ministry in your parish! A successful youth minister is one who is constantly raising up his or her replacement. May you be replaceable!