Reggie Joiner is a great leader, whom I’ve really enjoyed learning from over the years. While I usually hear him talk about bigger vision topics, this was one of the first times I’ve heard him explain a specific leadership move. During one of his workshops at Youth Ministry Exchange, he talked about redefining our role as a youth pastor. Specifically, he instructed the importance of re-writing our job descriptions.
Here are my notes from his breakout:
There are 2 things we need to own as youth pastors:
- Own your own inspiration.
- Own your own identity.
Why we need to re-write our own job description:
- Maybe someone else wrote it that’s not there anymore, maybe it’s really old, or maybe you don’t even have one right now.
- If you don’t own your own identity, you’re setting yourself up for what might be an identity crisis, because everyone else has a picture of what they think you should do.
- It will affect how you recruit, budget, hire, evaluate success, etc.
4 steps to re-writing our job description:
- Re-write a one-sentence job description.
- When people ask, you can explain it under a minute.
- You want to see if your sentence matches your bosses one sentence for you.
- You need to know what is expected of you, and you have the power to morph and control what that is.
- It works as a compass and clarifies expectations.
- Example: My job is to create experiences and community where leaders, volunteers, and parents can influence teenagers to develop a dynamic faith.
- Re-write the primary priorities that will help you accomplish your job.
- When people ask, you can explain it under 5 minutes.
- Examples of 5 priorities based on our talks with youth workers around the country:
- Align leaders
- Refine the message
- Elevate community
- Engage every parent
- Influence service
- Parents, volunteers, staff, and teenagers are found in each of these priorities.
- These should be the same priorities for others.
- Re-write a clear description for each priority.
- We need clarity around each of those priorities.
- Align leaders: Align leaders to work together around a common strategy, values, and language.
- Refine the message: Design a messaging strategy that communicates strategic truths to teenagers.
- Elevate community: Recruit and develop volunteers to lead teenagers in weekly small groups.
- Engage every parent: Engage every parent and guardian to partner with your ministry.
- Influence service: Influence students to participate in consistent ministry opportunities.
- Re-write the key activities you should do to accomplish each priority.
- If you don’t finish here, you will have a job description without any measurables.
- Examples (from 2 of those priorities):
- Align leaders:
- Champion vision and values of youth ministry throughout the church.
- Facilitate effective meetings to collaborate with key leaders in your organization.
- Manage budget and resources needed to make youth ministry successful.
- Elevate community:
- Implement a system to recruit and train small group leaders.
- Manage group structure to connect teenagers relationally with peers and leaders.
- Leverage digital strategies to enhance learning and relationships.
- Align leaders:
How to be a good youth pastor (3 principles of leadership):
- Be a generalist and a specialist.
- Generalist for all ages.
- Specialist with teenagers.
- Recruit to your weakness.
- Do what you are great at doing.
- Recruit for the parts you’re not best at doing.
- Keep clarifying the win.
- These 5 priorities/categories become 5 gauges.
- If you can’t measure the win in some of those categories, you really can’t manage your ministry.
When you re-write our job description in this way…
- You’ll have an elevator pitch.
- You’ll have a lunch presentation.
- You’ll have something for weekly meetings.
- You’ll have a basis for your annual review.
You can find a great handout to help you re-write your job description at orangeleaders.com.