During my first week on YL staff, I got a call from my Regional Director. He had sent out a letter and survey to our area committee about the new season of YL in our area. At the end of the letter he asked them about their ongoing involvement on the local committee. He was calling to tell me that all of them had chosen to step off the committee at this time....ALL of them.
Because I didn’t really know what a YL committee did, I wasn’t overly concerned by the news. It was two years later, after operating without a committee, after knowing that anything that needed to be done in the area would have to be done by me, after feeling more and more alone in my life and ministry...that I begged a couple I had just met to help me build a committee. I’m still not sure why they said “yes,” but they did and I soon learned what a gift it is to have a group of adults who shared God’s call to reach kids in our local area.
From that first committee couple (still some of my closest friends) to our Board of Trustees, I am amazed at the caliber, character, and commitment of those God leads to serve on a YL committee or board. Almost 40 years later, I am even more convinced that we cannot and will not reach all the kids God has called us to reach without them.
Committees Today: Our Recent Survey
We recently sent a survey to committee chairs and staff across the mission. The good news is...we got great feedback! The even better news is that committees want to be more involved with staff in reaching kids. Here are a few of the highlights:
544 Committee Chairs (CC’s) and 619 staff completed the survey
70% of CC’s were donors first
1/3 of CC’s were involved with YL as a kid
78% of CC’s and 58% of staff view “partnership with AD” as primary role of committee
CC’s view themselves as having a significant role in the spiritual health of the staff and leaders in their area
Consistent communication between AD and CC (44% of AD’s meet with their CC’s 2x/month or more) is key!
Attention to the definition of Committee roles and purpose is vital.
The use and involvement of set subcommittees to work alongside the committee at large is on the rise and is healthy for growth.
There is a desire for more training for CC’s from Region/Division/Mission levels.
More contextual work needs to be done in how committee looks like in different types of settings.
There is a desire for collaboration and shared best practices among CC’s.
So what do you do with this information?
Stop and thank God for the men and women in your ministry!
Pick up the phone and verbally express gratitude to them.
Focus on the connection between CC and Area Director on a more regular and deeper level.
Click this link for Committee Resources and look for more to come from Global Innovation and Training to help staff and committees grow together in our call to reach and teach kids.
Author: Valerie Morris
Have you ever tried to herd cats? I have literally tried this when we got three kittens a few years back and I can attest that the expression is true to its meaning 100%. Cats are fast, agile, smart, and have a mind of their own. This is often how many Young Life committees can feel too. Committees are often full of fast-moving, savvy and smart adults, who all have their unique perspectives and expertise. This is a true gift if you’ve got it, but when you have so many perspectives coming together, how do you get going in the same direction? The answer is in the Committee Chair.
The Committee Chair is a vital role within any Young Life ministry. You might be surprised to find a few parts of this role that you hadn’t considered before. It might just change how your entire committee operates moving forward.
I asked a few of my friends around the mission about what the role of Committee Chair entailed and here are a few common themes that kept popping up in these conversations:
Bridge - Young Life ministries need their committees, and committees need staff and volunteers who are on the front lines each day doing ministry. The Committee Chair is the core bridge, or liaison, between these two groups. He/She comes together with the Area Director to truly partner and help make sure that both groups of people are all going in the same direction.
Encourager - Committee Chairs have the opportunity to encourage committee and help them to stay engaged and focused, throughout all seasons of ministry. They also are vital encouragers of the area director and staff too.
Organizer - Organizing meetings, logistics, and schedules is often where we first go to when we think about the role of the Committee Chair, but the reality is that this is just a small part. Albeit an important part, it’s just a fraction of what the Chair’s role involves.
Accountability Partner - The Committee Chair is the ultimate accountability partner in the area. A Chair will meet regularly with the main staff in the area and help keep them accountable to life, ministry, and spiritual goals. However, a Chair is also there to keep the committee accountable to doing what they said they were going to do.
Friend: Young Life is all about relationships, which is why it is no surprise that the Committee Chair is a friend and focused on being intentional in relationship with the Area Director and committee. That friendship can have a business side to it, yes, but it also is focused on transparency, longevity, and partnership.
Visionary - It can get lonely at the top, which is where many of our staff operate from. The Committee Chair is someone who has committed to invest in an intentional relationship with the Area Director. Together, they can dream and cast vision for what Young Life could look like in the local area. Since both the committee and staff/leaders can’t do it without the other group, it makes sense that the Committee Chair AND Area Director would cast vision together.
Shepherd - The Committee Chair is someone that has spiritual maturity and discernment. He/She is someone who is seeking wisdom and willing to pursue that. They are there to help ensure the spiritual/financial/emotional health of the staff, committee and the local ministry.
Mobilizer - Every person on a committee is vital and brings different skills to the table. Committee Chairs speak into the strengths of those on the committee and find opportunities for them to shine and thrive.
Cat Herder - Committee Chairs ultimately help pull people going in different directions (leading, ministry building, fundraising, networking, praying, event planning, etc.) and attempt to get everyone moving in the same direction.
As I got all these descriptions and perspectives in from leaders in Young Life from all over the world, and from all types of roles, it became pretty clear to me that the Committee Chair is one of the most vital roles within a local ministry. It’s a role that does many of the unseen things and overall direction of the ministry. It’s easy to read a big list like this and get overwhelmed by all that you could be doing. But, as soon as I got tempted to go down that road in my head, I turned it back to what a possibility this role is and the impact one role can have on Young Life ministry and the gospel.
Special thanks to a few folks for creating this picture of the Committee Chair role:
Author: Gabe Knipp
All throughout scripture banquets represent celebration, abundance and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Lately though, within Young Life, the term ‘Banquet’ can make some Young Life staff break into a cold sweat. If that’s you, I hope this short article can give you a new perspective on what can be the best night of the year for your area. After all, what could be better than gathering a few hundred adults from your area, eating a meal together, laughing hard, and telling them about Jesus and what He is doing in the lives of kids? Time after time we hear adults proclaim after a banquet, “Could you have Old Life? That was amazing!”
With that positive experience in mind, there are three numbers that will help you accomplish that feeling as you look forward to your next banquet: 2, 12, and 15.
Every banquet has two aspects. The PEOPLE and the PROGRAM.
Most Staff and Committees are familiar with program. You know how to set up the room, tell that one story to communicate the heart, passion, and commitment of Young Life. The issue, more often, is getting people into the room.
The process of getting people in the room for the banquet is not much different than getting people in the room for club. It’s all about contact work. A club full of kids is a celebration of excellent contact work. A banquet full of adults is a celebration and natural extension of great contact work with adults. Just like a club flyer should not be a kid’s only invitation to club, the physical banquet invitation should not be the first time your guest has been invited to the banquet.
What if you pursued adults in your community like you do kids in the local school? What if you “sold” the banquet and planned for it months ahead of time? What if you were committed to helping people get there because it’s a chance to experience what God is doing and to be a part?
12 - Months
After a week at camp, you probably begin thinking about next year the next day (if not on the bus ride home). I’d be willing to bet camp crosses your mind almost every day of the year.
Banquets need to be the same. While camp can be the best week of a kids life, the banquet can be the best night of the year for your community. We should look forward to that night with great anticipation all year long.
The best banquets are done on with a 12-month strategy, just like camp.
A 12-month cycle means follow-up after the banquet is essential, like reviewing those commitment cards and actually sending people information about the golf marathon. Maybe there’s a banquet reminder in your Christmas letter, or you’ll casually mention the banquet next time you meet a donor.
15 - Minutes
Take 15 minutes today. You’ve read this article. Now watch the video below to get a better picture of this process. Next, write down “people” and three things you can do over the next three weeks to invite people to be part of what God is doing, which is always an invitation to fuller life. No matter how far away your next banquet is, the process starts today. Be excited.
And if you want to smile when you think about banquets, schedule time (not today) to think through the two aspects, People and Program, and what you can do each month to make your next banquet a no-sweat success.
QUESTION: What is one of the most important relationships in your YL Area?
(Hint: It's not what you think.)
The Area Director/Committee Chair Relationship
Written by Eric Protzman Committee Chair, Intermountain Young Life
The relationship between the Area Director and the Committee Chair may be the most important relationship for introducing kids to Christ and helping them grow in their faith. Over my tenure of involvement with Young Life, I have grown more and more convicted of the truth of this statement because I’m part of the community. I'm not staff, I’m a Committee Chair. Let me tell you what I see.
If you ask the question “who really owns Young Life in your community?” a common response is “well, um, actually, it's the Area Director or staff.” It’s true that our current model defines Area Directors as having the greatest vested interest and at times it seems like the the AD “really owns” the local ministry, but if that is our reality we ignore and neglect a tremendously significant group: the local community and the YL Committee! As a missional organization, a Young Life staff-person may serve in several communities in their tenure, while the adults who make up the local Committee remain. The adults in a YL Community communicate the ministry of presence as strongly as anyone in town!
The flawed premise of exclusive Area Director ownership can promote the ‘outsourcing’ of ministry to kids in a local community to the local Young Life staff. However, my growing conviction is that a community has a responsibility for the engagement of kids in their town with the Gospel; it is non-transferrable. Intentional cleaving of ownership from the community leaves key adults underutilized. We can find ourselves waiting for a list of ‘tasks’ from the Area Director and take on only what we feel like taking on ranging from very much to very little. We treat what help we provide as a gift to the AD, not a responsibility to our kids. In the end, we are delighted to help, but we have missed the true calling because….
There is a Better Way
There is a better way: 100% joint responsibility and ownership between the Committee and Local YL Staff.
When the Area Director/Committee Chair relationship holds 100% joint responsibility for everything that happens in the Young Life Area there is a durable focal point for ministry that belongs to both the community and the YL organization. There is division of labor tied to gifting and skill sets but the ‘secret sauce’ is not shared labor it is shared responsibility. AD's work hard, but they often work alone. In our 100% model, we are truly in this together.
There are numerous benefits to a strong relationship between the Committee Chair and AD because 100% joint responsibility says, 'whatever happens in the Area, good or bad, is at the feet of the Area Director and Committee Chair.' Not one...Not the other...Not sometimes. It's always and both. Or, as we have become fond of saying - “It’s Our Town, Our Kids!”
By sharing the responsibility of the local Area between the Committee Chair and AD we gain wisdom, a partner, a friend, a brother or sister in Christ, experience, and know how. If we don’t get this relationship right we can live in frustration and tension. However, when the responsibility is jointly held you may discover a deep respect, admiration and love for each other. The YL staff I have worked closely with have truly become some of my favorite people! I have seen them grow in their gifting, calling and leadership. To be transparent, I have been changed too. Even though they may transition to other communities or roles, they have kept the same priority of having a strong relationship with their local Chair and I have now seen this model work repeatedly.
When the Committee Chair and Area Director share a common vision and commitment to the local ministry - the result is transformative. We are in it for each other. We are in it together. We do have a lot of work to do, but we do not walk in fear. It feels so good to have a partner. It feels so good for our efforts to be focused on introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. If this kind of relationship is what you long for with your Committee Chair or Staffer, the following 4 steps are a good place to start.
4 STEPS to building healthy relationships between the Area Director and the Committee Chair:
1) Protect a weekly one hour face to face AD/CC meeting time (meet by phone as a last resort).
2) Start your meetings with prayer for your relationship, your community and your kids.
3) Tackle the topics, of Faith, Family, Fears and Ministry - nothing is out of bounds.
4) Connect, follow up and encourage each other several times over the week and create a partnership.
If you honor these four simple steps - you will tranform this critical relationship and you will be able to watch it ‘trickle down’ to the rest of the Committee and Community. Trust me. The Committee Chair is the highest level of volunteerism in your local area. The Area Director is the Senior staffed position in the local area. If the relationship between these two roles embraces the command to ‘love one another’ (John 13: 34-35) then you stand as an example for everyone else in your community. It’s ‘Our Town, Our Kids!’
Feel free to contact me with questions or let me know how it goes!
Eric Protzman, Committee Chair (email@example.com)