Author: Jacque Abadie
After 77 years of ministry, the one thing that Young Life has plenty of is - MANUALS! From medical benefits, to payroll, to Wyldlife skits there is a manual that explains, informs and tells the reader what to do in a few easy steps. With an organization our size-manuals are needed to insure common language, understanding and quality of ministry. That has never been more true!
That being said, in 2 Corinthians 3:2, Paul mentions that “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.” While Paul is speaking in regard to the validity of his message, the concept is the same: people indwelled by the Holy Spirit are our most powerful resource. Like we have become fond of saying, “God’s method is men and women!” That is why all throughout scripture believers are describe in terms like salt, and light, a wellspring, a garden, an aroma, etc. All things that draw people in and attract others. The strongest argument for the existence and presence of God is our own transformation because the manual (letter) is written on our very selves.
Recently, I helped our Region compile resources for a Volunteer Team Leader handbook (another manual). As a region we wanted to affirm our commitment to the care, support, encouragement of the VTL’s and their important role in holding so much of ministry together (much like a linchpin in a wheel). The goal was to provide a simple notebook for an Area Director to walk through with a team leader over the course of a year. While the handbook turned out nicely, it quickly became clear that it was not the best and never would be the best. The reason why was simple. The very best Team Leader Training Manual is YOU!
While a handbook allows for a good progression of topics and resources, at best, it serves as an outline. The real work is the relationship between a staff person and a team leader. The way we walk alongside others is simply one of the ‘secret sauces of YL.’ Nothing can top the consistent cycle for a growing team leader than a rhythm of Watch, Do, Reflect, then Repeat. Reading a section of the handbook may only take minutes, while the life on life training cycle may take many hours. At the end of the day, it may not be efficient, but it is effective.
So as you prepare to train team leaders this year, here are a few questions to consider.
Have I set aside consistent time to meet with my team leader(s)?
Am I facilitating modeled competencies for them to witness?
Am I getting to watch their work?
Are we reflecting on the competencies that are being practiced?
In the same way we are incarnational ministers, let’s strive to be incarnational trainers for the linchpins in our ministries. Volunteer Team Leaders are one of the precious resources of the YL ministry and deserve our best. Of course, if you would like a copy of the handbook you are welcome to download it here. But remember, YOU are the handbook that will provide the best training!