TEAM COACH HANDBOOK
Welcome to The Edge. You are about to embark on the most rewarding and challenging journey you’ll ever take. The following pages will walk you through the role of the Team Coach. We’ll examine goals, challenges and provide specific tools that will help you become the best Team Coach you can possibly be. Before we go any farther, I want to take a moment to let you know how much I value you. You are indispensable to this ministry. Your involvement with The Edge will impact the lives of teens and eternity in a way that no one else can. God has given you unique gifts, talents, likes, dislikes and personality that will enable you to interact with teens in incredible ways. Teens will be drawn to you that may not respond to any other adult in our group. God has a wonderful plan to use you as you love teens in His name. It will not always be easy, you won’t always be able to see the immediate return on your investment, at times you will wonder why you were obedient when God began to draw your heart towards investing in teens, but there are very few joys on earth that compare to the thrill of knowing that a teenager knows Jesus because of your obedience. God is at work through you to impact this church, community, state, and country. This packet could potentially be overwhelming. There is a lot of information, and many suggestions. Please do not be discouraged as you read. We do not mean to overwhelm you, or cause you to feel inadequate. Rather, our purpose for this packet is to equip you, to give you insight, suggestions, and ideas. We do not want to give you the assignment to build a house with no tools, blueprints or experience, so, as you have been drawn by God to invest in His teens in Spring Arbor, here are a few tools to help you complete your assignment.
Please read this packet carefully, with pen in hand, making note of any questions, comments or suggestions you may have. Your Team Coach or I would love to spend time with you discussing your reaction to this manual. My deepest desire is to serve you, and to help you succeed. When you succeed, the youth ministry bears fruit and God’s Kingdom is enhanced on earth, and in eternity.
There’s lots of talk these days about mission and vision. Every organization must operate out of a strong sense of purpose or it cannot move forward. Before we can define our specifc mission and vision, we need a clear understand of what those words mean. A mission or purpose statement describes why we exist. Vision (which we will get to in a moment) lists the specific and unique dreams and aspirations we have from God. Our mission drives everything we do and is as follows:
Our mission is to reveal truth in the context of relationships that will enable teens to begin, continue and lead others in the process of becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.
Every youth worker must know and be able to articulate this statement and be passionate about the direction we are headed. Your job as Team Coach is to help fulfill this mission using your unique gifts and talents. As the saying goes, “if you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.” Therefore, as we begin with the “end in mind” we move forward with purpose.
The vision flows out of the mission and gives specific goals and directions to accomplish the goals. Our vision statement is as follows:
Focusing on relationships, we will equip adults, to invest in teens, so teens can impact their peers for Christ.
This statement has been worded carefully and demands understanding before you can fully buy into the Team Coach position. The larger the youth ministry is, the more essential it becomes to disperse authority among the adult leaders of the group. But not every adult is a leader, leaders must be trained; gifts must be discovered and encouragement must be regular for people to be most effective. Therefore, the focus of the youth pastor increasingly becomes building into YOU, the adult, so you can most effectively build relationships with teenagers. This is a paradigm shift. Youth ministry used to be one youth pastor trying to meet the needs of all of the teens. However, as a group increases in size, this is no longer feasible. To attempt to meet the needs of every teen will prove discouraging for any one individual. Moses fell into this trap and needed Jethro’s help in identifying the problem. He had to multiply himself in the leaders around him. What this means for you, is that you will not be thrust into this role without support. You will be stretched, challenged, pushed, encouraged and equipped to be the best follower of Christ you can be and to live that out in front of the teens entrusted to you. The degree of my involvement in these endeavors will be up to you. We have monthly vision meetings, two retreats a year, and two trainings each year to enhance your ministry effectiveness. If I could require you to participate in 3
these options, I would. I cannot, we are a volunteer organization. What I can and will do is to provide quality spiritual water for you to drink and challenge you to partake of that water as often as you possibly can. You’ll note one constant in both the mission and the vision statement…..relationship. It is my firm belief that spiritual growth takes place best in the context of relationship. It is for that reason that we emphasize this part of your journey with Christ. Every program we provide and therefore every opportunity you plan can be evaluated simply by coming back to this vision statement. Ask the question, “have you had opportunity to invest in relationship with teens as a result of the program we just put on?” When relationship drives what you do, you will bear fruit. This begins with my investing in relationship with you and trickles down through you into the teens we are ministering to. If you glean nothing else, understand that relationships are at the heart of our youth ministry and your full time ministry job is to allow me to build into you and you build relationships with teens.
THE BIG PICTURE
Understanding of the entirety of the youth ministry is essential to your success as a Team Coach. The Edge leadership packet explains this in full, but here is a thumbnail sketch. Teens basically come to the Edge in one of three categories. They are pre-Christian and need salvation, they are Christians and need to deepen their walk with Jesus through growth level events, or they are maturing Christians who want to be equipped to multiply themselves through leadership development. Our job as a youth ministry is to provide at least one program for each level of spiritual development, being careful that our programs do not duplicate in purpose. We’ve attempted to meet these needs in the following ways: 4
Step one is BUILD or grow the believer. We’re trying to accomplish that in four unique ways. Our flagship program is called “The Edge” and meets on Sunday nights (H.S.) and Wednesdays (J.H.) and the primary purpose is worship and basic truth discovery. Second, we have “The Well” on Sunday mornings. The primary purpose of this program is deeper Bible truth. Third, we have “The Cell”, which are same sex small groups that meet weekly with the primary purpose of care and accountability. Last, we have “Bible Quizzing,” which emphasizes relationship building based in scripture memorization and monthly competitions. Step two is EQUIP. As students want MORE and want skills necessary to multiply themselves in the lives of their peers we have Ministry Team. Ideally, each Team has its own Ministry Team that helps plan and prepare for Team Rooms, and the youth pastors each have a Ministry Team that bridges all grades that we invest our time and energy in. Step three is WIN. As students are equipped to share their faith, we must provide tools to help them in the process of sharing their faith. Our outreach events rotate between small group outreach, team outreach and large group outreach on a monthly basis. By the end of their time in youth ministry, we hope that teens have a depth of relationship with Christ that includes a desire to seek Him through His Word, an intimate prayer life, regular time with God individually and corporately and a passion to reach their peers for Christ. The above programs move us toward that goal.
WHAT’S A TEAM COACH?
Now that you have the big picture in mind, let’s talk about your role as a Team Coach. Each Sunday and Wednesday, the programming team will provide excellent leadership at The Edge. Teens will be presented with Truth in creative ways challenging them towards a depth of relationship with Christ. While we will attempt to make The Edge a place of excellence, we realize that hearing the truth and internalizing it are two different things. Therefore, we encourage teens to go to TEAM ROOM after The Edge. There, you and your leadership team of students will follow up on the truth which has been presented. During this time your goals are simple. Empower teens to minister to each other, in some way follow up on the truth that has been taught and as always, deepen relationships with the teens in your class. Don’t worry; you’ll be given tools to lead you through this process. Each month, our leadership team provides you with a Team Room options packet. This packet explains the theme for the month, identifies the purpose and main idea for each night of the month and provides options for you to discuss with your leadership team as to how to provide a quality experience for your team. Your Team Room is your PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY as far as programming goes. On a larger scale, the Team Coach role is about breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for interaction and bonding within your class. Because of the unique structure of our youth ministry, you will be encouraged to follow your class/team from 6th grade all the way through high school graduation. This will provide ample opportunity for relationships to begin and develop in ways that will allow you to become an integral part in the spiritual development of your teens. But, relationships don’t just happen; they happen intentionally. Don’t assume that you are going to magically get quality 6
time instead of quantity time. That is a myth. Quality time happens as a result of quantity time. Therefore, your role includes providing at least one retreat a year, as well as regular opportunities for “fun” and bond building, with a general goal of one activity per month. This may be as simple as going bowling, or to the skating rink, or maybe a pizza and movie party at someone’s home. Again, let your mission drive these events. You’re primary concern is not attendance; you are to be concerned about regular opportunities to enhance relationships with your students.
Let’s get specific about what this ministry entails. #1 – Keep your priorities straight. – All of this information you are about to read may be overwhelming. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. We do not apologize for following Jesus method of making disciples. He spent 3 ½ years with twelve guys, failed with one of them, and left the gospel with a band of followers who seemed very unprepared. Sound familiar? That’s youth ministry in a nutshell. There is a reason why we encourage you to do ONE ministry and to do it well. To invest in discipleship is to invest a large segment of WHO you are. “We were delighted to share not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (I Thes. 2:8) At the same time, this role does not have to overload your family life. C.S. Lewis said, “When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed, but increased.” We long to see this principle lived out in your life. We are primarily concerned with your health and growth as a child of God and as a member of the family He has placed you in. As you invest yourself in these priorities, a love for your Team will be a natural overflow of God’s work in you. Keeping your top two priorities in line will only enhance your ability to love teens. We’re asking you to give basically one night a week to this endeavor and to supplement 7
that evening with some contacting in between meetings. This can happen very effectively while maintaining God as your highest priority, followed closely by your family and a distant 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th, your Team Coaching ministry. You will only be as effective as your top two priorities. We will support you in any decisions which help maintain these priorities. #2 – Attend all Edge Programming for your age level. Attendance must be a high priority. We must model for teens the consistency we expect from them. If you must be absent from an Edge, please let one of the youth pastors know. #3 – Keep attendance for your team. You’ll want to develop a system to track the teens from your team. We do not keep attendance at the larger events; we rely on you to do this. Your Head Coach will provide you with materials to aid you in with this job. Basically, I want you to know when your students are here and patterns for their attendance. #4– Follow up new students that attend the Edge for the first time. What does follow up mean? It means I want to get every new comer a letter and you should do the same. I’ll need a copy of every new student’s welcome card (we provide duplicates), to be able to do this. You’ll want to have a system in place that follows up by phone or card to every newcomer. Be creative in ways to get your students active in this. Also, follow up on current students who have been absent. Please remember, our goal is not to badger students to attend our programs, but to show them that they are missed and loved. We are not the religious “police” equating attendance with Godliness. Again, we’ll provide quality water, we’ll invite them to drink.
#5 – Systematic contacting of the existing members, will be a large part of your investment outside of programming. Set goals for yourself as to number of cards, phone calls and personal contacts you can make with your students each month. Have someone hold you accountable to this. The contacting portion of your ministry will very much enhance the programming part of your position. #6 - Perhaps most importantly, Prayer must mark your ministry. This must be the one non-negotiable area. You must be systematic as well as specific and aggressive in your prayers for your teens. Set up a way to pray through your kids at least once a month. The more you pray, the more you will see God at work in the lives of your students. Here are some suggestions: 1) Make pre-prayer a regular part of your life and the life of your leadership team. Pre-prayer happens at 5:00 on Sundays for the High School and at 6:00 on Wednesdays for the middle school. If I could require you to come to this I would. Nothing will prepare you for ministry like preprayer. 2) Have a prayer calendar. Simply get a blank sheet of paper and have the list of all of your teens written out over the month assigning them different days. As a bonus, this can give you a reason to write them a note or call them on their particular day, helping you to remain systematic in your contacting as well. 3) Take prayer pictures. Part of your Team Room assignment is to take a picture of every teen on your team. Make enough copies so that the youth pastor gets one for his/her prayer wall and so that you can keep one for your prayer times. As a bonus, this will help you connect names and faces as you pray through these pictures. 9
4) 3 x 5 note cards on a ring with the name of each student on a card can help you systematize your prayer as well as individual contacting. You can simply jot concerns and answers and date the requests. 5) Concerts of prayer in your Team Rooms on occasion can have a big impact. The bigger principle than the event is that you model prayer for your teens in front of them. #7 – Recruit and develop an apprentice. Essential to ministry expansion is the recruitment and development of adults to continue in ministry. The urgency of this responsibility is found by studying Jesus’ ministry. Ideally, you’ll have a new apprentice each year who comes along side you to learn how to do the Team Coach role with your help. At the end of the apprentice year, we’ll evaluate where the needs are for Team Coaches. Options include staying on with your team if you have grown to the point of needing more adults or starting in 6th grade with their own Team. Either way, it is essential that you follow Jesus’ model of multiplying yourself in someone else to do ministry after you. #8 – Create Ministry Teams of students within your Team. Ideally, you’ll have a leadership team of your own, realizing that a Ministry Team of 6th graders will take on much less responsibility than a Ministry Team of 12th graders. These will be the teens that you spend the most time with and get to invest the most in. Come up with a time when you can meet regularly and invest in them as people, while planning upcoming events, outreaches and Team Rooms #9 – Know Every Teen on your Team by name. You’ll have quite a list of teens in your team. You will NOT be able to know every one of them intimately (that’s what The Cell is for). You will be
able to have a general knowledge of those that come regularly. Make this your goal. #10 – Plan at least one retreat per year. Your Head Coach will regularly provide retreat ideas and options. There are several camps and retreat centers that do all of the programming for you, and you simply have to sign your kids up to participate. I’d recommend picking something that becomes “your” annual event. This creates a sense of momentum and anticipation as your group bonds together over the years. #11 – Outreach events. Once every three months, the focus of your team will intentionally switch to reaching the lost. You and your leadership team will strategically plan events that will be attractive to teens and creatively present the gospel. These nights will be set aside on our calendar so that you will not have to add another night in your schedule for this event. #12 – Advanced Planning/ Creating a Vision - One of the common phrases you hear in our youth ministry is to, ”begin with the end in mind.” Simply put, you must have an idea of what a fully devoted follower of Christ looks like and how you will use your gifts and talents to aid that student in the process. There are no shortcuts in this process. I recommend taking at least a half a day each semester to go away and be quiet. Sit before the Lord and ask Him to reveal His plan for your Team. God knows what He’d like to accomplish. Most of the time, we simply don’t listen enough to find out what His plan is. Ask questions like: -What is the next step (or the first step) for my Team? -What would the perfect Team Room look like? -How can this group get bonded together for a lifetime?
-What are my strengths and how can they enhance this process? What are my weaknesses and how can I surround myself with others in these areas? -How can I help the teens own this Team and our ministry? -How am I growing spiritually; am I leading by example? As this vision forms, write it down and refer to it; modify it frequently. When your team graduates, you’ll be amazed at how God has used you and your vision to help students mature. Finally, as your vision becomes clear, translate that into dates, programs, retreats and outreach events. The farther in advance you can prepare, the more effective you can be. Remember, (AP + I = E) Advanced Prep + Intention =
#13 – Be Teachable – Your most important character quality may be having a teachable spirit. Realize that there are people around you who have already been where you are going and would like to help you. Do not be too proud to admit defeat, failure or ask for help. Your Head Coach, among others, is here to assist you. Realize that every leadership development opportunity offered by the youth ministry is for YOUR benefit. We want to build into you so you can build into the students. 1. Invest in your Head Coach and let her invest in you. When we have meetings, make them a priority and come ready to share as well as gain new insights. 2. Training times - We have two retreats, two training events each year, as well as monthly vision meetings. Don’t miss these times if there is any possible way around it. 3. Seek personal accountability.
After reading all of this, it might be beneficial to go back and review responsibility number one. Remember our purpose with this manual is to equip you, not to overwhelm you.
BUILDING A HEALTHY GROUP IMAGE
Teens do not automatically get assimilated into our group. This is your primary task. A Biblical group image and spiritual fellowship are goals to be consciously built. The following steps take students as individual and provide progressive opportunities for them to be woven into a group- a body – a community. ICEBREAKERS INTERACTION GROUP AFFIRMATION & IDENTITY GROUP INITIATIVES SPIRITUAL FELLOWSHIP We enter a new group as an individual. It is not until we sense acceptance by the group that group building can occur. Studies have demonstrated that learning is accelerated when individuals feel accepted by those around them. True fellowship is the culmination of this process. Without careful planning we can run a host of events that provide activity, but do not lead to deeper and richer relationships. An over abundance of activity can even lead to a smorgasbord where students pick and choose what to do as individuals, rather than cooperating as a group. We need to program for deepening friendships in a way that lends momentum to our group identity. STEP 1 -ICEBREAKERS – Our initial step in group building involves breaking down barriers that will prevent the individuals in our group from developing group friendship. Our 13
students may attend different schools, or have opposite schedules from one another. The only time many of our youth see each other is during our meetings. An icebreaker is any event that opens initial communication lines between people for informal communication. We want to get acquainted with each other. Here are some questions to consider during your first few minutes together: Is the environment comfortable for conversation? Would I feel comfortable in this environment if this was my first time here? Are there key students and adults looking for new or fringe people to intentionally interact with? Is our Team Room easy to find? Is there a warm and receptive atmosphere? What initial activity could we run that would get everyone involved quickly. How can this activity help us to break down barriers and open up links for potential friendships to form? Books on icebreakers abound. Here is a list of potential resources. “Small Church Youth Ministry Programming Ideas” – Michael Warden, Group Books, Box 481 Loveland, CO 80539 (303)6693836 (1994) “Great Ideas for Small Youth Groups”, Wayne Rice Youth Specialties/Zondervan, 1twotwo4 Greenvield Drive, El Cajon, CA 9two0two1 “Group Growers”, Group Books, (same as above) “Quick Crowd-Breakers and Games for Youth Groups” Group “Serious Fun”, David Veerman, Victor Books, 18two5 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187 (708) 668-6000 “The Good Times Game Book”, Douglas Kamstra, Baker Book House, 6030 East Fulton St., Ada, MI 49301 (616)676-9186 (1981) 14
STEP 2 – INTERACTION Ginny – Please type in (or scan if possible) Sonlife material here pg. 46 – 63b and if you can have the Sonlife logo at the end of this and give credit to them, we should.
THE TEAM ROOM
Now that you have some great ideas, let’s look at the elements of a Team Room itself and how some of these ideas can be applied. These are general categories and may be implemented in a variety of ways. #1 – How do I get to my Team Room? Assume you are here for the first time. Make sure your Team Room is well marked or you’ve come up with a way to travel to your Team Room together. This can be signs, footprints on the ground, verbal announcements or things like trust walks to your room. #2 – The Room Itself. What will be the theme for your Team Room throughout the year? Will it be teen friendly and teen inviting? I’d suggest having a room preparation team of students that will meet you early to help decorate your Team Room. You can be as elaborate or simple as you like. Again, decorate with our goals in mind. #3 – The Welcome. Who will be in charge of greeting every person that walks into your Team Room? How will you follow up on new people? How will you know there are new people? Who will follow up with people that are NOT there? These and similar questions can be answered by your greeting team. At minimum you want a Team Room table that has attendance sheets, updated flyers for upcoming events, and newcomer cards to fill out. Think through how this can become a vibrant ministry within your team. 15
#4 – The Program. As students are greeted and made to feel welcome, have them take their seats. The program will take a variety of forms and you will be greatly aided by the Team Coach programming idea sheets provided by the youth pastor. These sheets will be provided for you a minimum of two weeks prior to each month and will include possible program ideas for your evenings that will coincide with the nights teaching. Here are some suggestions for the program format. a) Begin by welcoming the teens and introducing new people (you may want to have some small snack as a welcome gift). b) Second, you may want to have a “get to know you” section of your night where you would interview a different member of your team each week. Ask the same questions, keep it light and have fun getting to affirm one special person and get to know him/her better. c) Third, you’ll want to talk about upcoming events, outreaches and fun nights. Your Head Coach can help you with flyers for these events. d) Fourth, you’ll want to highlight ministry opportunities within your team. Always keep in front of kids the Ministry Teams that are available for them to be a part of and how they can join them. e) You may want to move into some sort of large group icebreaker. f) Following your ice breaker, move into your chosen activity for the night. Try to bring variety into your evening and listen to your students’ suggestions. They are able to bring new insight and teen needs into perspective. g) Finish your program with some sort of prayer. Again, this can be done in a variety of ways. But remember, if you are going to take prayer requests from your team, make sure you write them down and follow up on them. 16
h) The send off can be some sort of affirmation like group hugs, or high fives as they go out the door. i) If you have time for debriefing, this would be the ideal time to do so with your leadership team. Take notes to help you avoid repeating your mistakes. Make note of what worked, what didn’t and how to make next week even better. Finally make assignments for follow up of new people.
One of your greatest joys will be in the development of a student Ministry Team. Your ultimate goal is to equip your students so well that they run your Team Room on their own. This process will not happen over night, but with careful planning and lots of patience, it can become a reality. Understand that equipping leaders takes time! Extra time! It cannot happen in the context of the Team Room itself. First you must identify areas of need within your team. Next prioritize those ministry areas and finally assign an adult to that area. The adult will have the primary responsibility of building a team around this ministry opportunity. At first, the adult may be leading the ministry and modeling for students what can be done. With time, he will turn this ministry over to students, releasing authority as students gain trust and confidence. Ideas for student led ministry in the Team Room: Programming Team – This team will meet regularly to discuss Team Room itself. What will happen, who will make it happen and come up with the necessary tools to make it happen. Outreach/Special Events – This team would meet regularly to plan and implement monthly outreach events and yearly retreats. Outreach events may vary in purpose (see below) from cultivating events (like a bowling party, or Super Bowl 17
party) to reaping events (where you invite teens to an event specifically having someone present the gospel of Christ). Outreach events are not “social” times for believers, but opportunities for your team to bring new people. They should vary in structure, level of outreach and creativity. This team should ask the question, “How can we reach the different types of people represented in our schools?” Communications Ministry – This team would be responsible for communicating weekly during team time the things that have happened in local schools, the upcoming events of teens within your team and the upcoming team events. Ideas include letters, flyers, e-mail or even your own team web page. Encouragement/Prayer Team – This team would be responsible to meet and greet teens as they enter their Team Rooms, systematically encourage their teammates in creative ways (email, snail mail, phone calls, cards), pray for the specific needs of their teams and follow up on new comers and people that have been absent. Set up/tear down Team – This team may be responsible for the look of your room from week to week. They may assist in preparing for and cleaning up after The Edge each week. Service Team – This team would be responsible to seek out and provide service opportunities for your team
OUTREACH EVENTS THE BIG PICTURE
We must understand the nature of outreach events before planning them. There are cultivating, sowing and reaping outreach events. You’ll need to determine the maturity of your group before planning an event. For example, if your teens are still young in their faith, and are not yet exhibiting enough Christ-like behavior so that people can distinguish them from the world, you may not be ready for outreach yet. That’s okay. Take a year and 18
build the idea of being set apart into your teens. As kids grow in their faith, they will WANT to reach out. When this happens, begin at the appropriate level. Cultivating – This means simply building relationships with pre-Christians. If kids don’t have friends who are pre-Christians, challenge them to ask kids to a non-threatening environment where you just have fun together. e.g. Bowling, skating, movie party, going to the mall or a Mary Kay party, etc. This can also take the form of “random acts of kindness” like putting money in parking meters, washing windows at the mall, doing a free car wash, raking old people’s leaves, anything that takes the focus off of “self.”
relationship without necessarily pushing for a decision for Christ. A lock-in is a great time for this. Before the event, practice ways for “your” kids to change the conversation into a spiritual one. Again, you’d ultimately want this to be student driven, but you may need to model for them what this looks like.
Sowing – This means injecting the name of Jesus into the
Gospel, perhaps been to The Edge a few times and needs to make a decision for Christ, you want to plan an event where you will specifically tell about the Gospel of Christ and ask kids to make a decision. Nothing will be more rewarding and challenging at the same time. As kids are challenged out of their comfort zones, they will reap what has been sown. Any event can be turned into a reaping event by sharing the gospel and asking for a response. Finally, evaluate events based on your purpose for the night. #1 – Were pre-Christians invited? This is the biggest factor. Teach kids that they are responsible to invite friends and that God is responsible for bringing them. Do incredible affirmation if 19
Reaping – When your group has someone who has heard the
they’ve stepped out of their comfort zones and invited someone on their prayer list. #2 – Were pre-Christians present? If teens did NOT invite pre-Christians, consider canceling the event. This may seem harsh, however we need to communicate that outreach events are not for Christians to have more fun. #3 – Did we present the Gospel at the level we wanted to? #4 – Ultimately, did anyone receive Christ or move closer toward accepting Christ? Set realistic goals ahead of time as to what you hope God will do through your group. This will help you evaluate honestly and realistically.
OTHER GENERAL TIPS
Understand that keeping parents “in the loop” is essential for success in your team. Not only do you want good communication, but you may play a huge role in evangelizing parents who do not know Christ. Here are some suggestions. #1 – Have a parent affirmation night. Have your kids make desserts, and invitations. During the event, have each teen say something positive about their parents publicly. This is always a hit. #2 – Have a newsletter or some kind of regular communication, keeping parents up to date with your plans, hopes and dreams for their kids. #3 – Phone call a week – Call a parent each week after you’ve caught their kids doing something good. (e.g. If their teen was helpful in including new people that evening, call and tell them how great their kids are.) What parent wouldn’t love this?! Plus, it gives you an excuse to contact parents. Often they have questions or other concerns and just need you to initiate conversation.
#4 – Mother/daughter or Father/son camp out – A weekend away with parents can earn trust and help parents and teens deepen their own relationships. #5 – Use parents in non-threatening ways. If you want food at your Team Room, call up parents, they are usually happy to help. If you need transportation or a home for a progressive dinner, again, parents are the place to turn.
THE VALUE OF ONE-ON-ONE
Ultimately, the relationship is enhanced best by one-on-one contact. This will happen best in the cell groups and you cannot possibly involve yourself with ALL of your students in one-on-one relationship. But, as you develop a leadership team, you will value intentional individual time. Set reasonable goals for yourself in this area. During these times you might: #1- Talk about your hopes and dreams for them that you heard from the Lord. #2 – Challenge them in their areas of weakness, giving ideas on how to overcome them. #3 – Give them a chance to evaluate you. Ask them, “Is there any way I can be a better Team Coach?” #4 – Affirm, affirm, affirm. #5 – Talk about the Team Room times themselves and ask for ways to improve? #6 – DON’T talk about other members in the group. Teens know that if you mention their friends TO them, you will be doing the same ABOUT them.
At our senior banquet a couple of years ago, one of our regular attendees stood up and said, “I have a pile of cards this
THE VALUE OF CONTACTING
thick that I have saved from my youth leaders.” The value of a personal contact on your part is immense. Here’s some ideas: #1 – Never EVER forget a birthday. This doesn’t have to be expensive, but make these days as special as possible. At the very least, send a post-card. #2 – Christmas is an incredible time for you to affirm your kids with some kind of gift. Again, cost means nothing. Your desire to love them means everything. #3 – Write two post cards a week. It takes one minute, but the impact is huge. (I’ll even mail them for you. Your Head Coach can help you with cards, postage and labels…just ask.) #4 – Learn about and attend extra-curricular activities. (Write them a note after you attend.) #5 – A phone call (or two) a week. Again, these add up and are incredible investments in your teens.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If I have 80 people on my team list, how can I build intimate relationships with that many people?
We don’t want you to be overwhelmed. Remember your role in the overall program and where it fits. Cell groups are the place to establish intimate care and accountability, not the Team Room. You can’t be a close friend to all the people who are on your team roster. You CAN know them by name, help them develop relationships with other team members, greet them with a smile and help break down some barriers that can get them into a cell group and intimate relationships. Remember, you are the intermediate level of contact between our large group EDGE and our CELLS.
Is it appropriate for me to be a Team Coach of my son or daughters age group?
Because our focus isn’t as much on intimacy at this level, we’ve had parents successfully navigate these tricky waters. The answer is definitely NO as their cell group leader, but potentially YES as their Team Coach. You can maintain enough distance as Team Coach and yet remain involved in their lives enough to make this work. If there are Team Coach Positions available at grades near your own child’s, we should investigate that option, as we feel it is preferable for everyone involved. It will give your child independence from you and allow another adult to invest in your child.
What should I do with disruptive teens?
Everyone will deal with this question sooner or later. Step one is to politely ask the teen to stop the behavior they are exhibiting. This can be done with “the look” or verbally as is necessary. Step two is to pull the teen aside after your Team Room and to confront them with the behavior. My experience suggests that teens are much different in one-on-one situations and will for the most part, comply with your wishes. If the problem persists and becomes a behavior pattern, take them aside one-on-one and remind them how much you love them. Then tell them that you love everyone in that team equally and that you do not feel right about the disruptive behavior they are exhibiting. Next, warn them about the consequences that will happen the next time this happens. #1- You will be in contact with their parents and if all else fails, #2 – You would like for them to take a break from Team Room. After a set amount of time, they may return if they apologize to you and to the group publicly. Feel free to bring the youth pastor into these decisions as they arise.
Talk a little more about apprentices?
Our hope is that every Team Coach finds and recruits an apprentice. We want you to have another adult along side you for support, but more importantly for training. We want you to build into the life of another adult so they can figure out how to do a team and then take on a new 6th grade group next year. Often times, your team grows to the point that your apprentice can remain with you; that is a great scenario.
Can we have too many Team Coaches?
Nope! The more adults we have building relationships with teens, the more effective we become. Recruit your tails off. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few….”
I’m in one of those “slumps” where teens seem uninterested in what we’re doing in Team Room, any suggestions?
#1 – Go back to your purpose. Don’t evaluate your effectiveness based on “perceived” feelings; base it on relationships being built. #2 – Go with the “goers”. If you’ve been faithful in establishing a leadership team, let this group increasingly set the pace for your group and go with their ideas. Be faithful in providing the best quality water you can provide and allow God to bring fruit from the nutrition of that water. #3 – Pray and ask the Lord to reveal any areas in your own life that are not in tune with His desires for you. Be open to areas of weakness and allow the Lord to bring you back to the things that are really important.