Today’s guest post is from Meredith Teasley and follows yesterday’s super popular post, 5 Tips for Helping a Child with Special Needs in Summer Programming. Meredith plans and leads CentriKid Camps for Lifeway. One of Meredith’s strengths is in coaching and leading teen-helpers. These pointers apply beautifully to the special needs ministry setting. ~ Amy
3 Tips for Training Young Leaders
Teens can be a great help in children’s ministry and special needs ministry… when they are trained and equipped to succeed in their role! Use these tips to equip teen helpers in your ministry and invest in future leaders:
1. Share the vision. Too often, we get teens to sign up and then tell them nothing else until they show up. Unless you tell them otherwise, these students or teens may assume they are just a “warm body” there to help you meet a quota for volunteers or chaperones or helpers. Find a time to cast the vision for them, even if it’s one on one.
2. Tell teens what success looks like. What are the characteristics of a great teen helper or assistant or buddy? In what areas will you hold this person accountable? They may aim for nothing except showing up unless you give them clear expectations.
3. Give them a specific job. Does the teen need to hold their buddy’s hand? If so, tell him. Does he need to pass out pencils? Tell him. Does she need to sit next to a rowdy child and keep that kid calm? Tell her. At first, you may feel like the teen needs more instruction than the kids you’re leading, but after a while they will catch on. Don’t assume each teen has worked with kids before or knows what they are doing. Don’t be afraid to give LOTS of instructions!
Remember, the more you invest in teens as their leader, the more you’ll get out of them in return. You are investing not just in high school students or first-time volunteers, but you are investing in future kids ministry leaders. Make the most of the opportunity you have to create some incredible future leaders! ~ Meredith Teasley
Meredith Teasley is a former #kidmin and currently servers a Kids Camp Specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources. She has included kids with special needs at camp since 2002. Meredith offers #kidmin helps and leadership tips on her blog, www.meredithteasley.com.