Of all the different Young Life focus ministries, WyldLife is the one where the leader-student age differential poses the most significant effects for a staff member or ministry team lead.
The leader-student age differential is simply this: the closer in age your leaders are to your kids, the more time and attention you must give to those leaders.
If your WyldLife ministry leadership team is made up primarily of adults, you’ll need to do some basic training, encouragement, and resourcing, along with intentional relationship building to keep your team cohesive and strong. But for the most part, they’ll be able to create and maintain their individual ministry to kids without your step-by-step assistance.
If your WyldLife ministry leadership team includes college students, you’ll need to spend structured time with them on a regular basis to provide training in ministry essentials, help nurture their faith, help them create a structure and schedule for regular contact work, give them meaningful feedback and encouragement, help them think through details of club, develop a strong system for building and maintaining parent relationships, and even providing transportation for those who didn’t bring cars with them to school.
If your WyldLife ministry leadership team includes high school students, you’ll need to do all of these same things,and more. High school leaders – some of whom might be very young in their faith – require close and intentional mentoring, training, caretaking, nurturing, guidance, and pastoral care. Many WyldLife staff believe the required time and effort is well worth it because of the energy, excitement, and connections that high school leaders provide.
Only you can determine the ideal makeup of your WyldLife leadership team. If you do have high school leaders, remember that your primary ministry must be to them if you want them to be sufficiently prepared and equipped to have their own significant ministry to middle school students.
Here is “A Letter to High School WyldLife Leaders” (based on thoughts and insights from several current high school leaders) that can help set a positive tone and strong foundation for your own high school leaders.
Posted by Crystal Kirgiss (WyldLife Leader, Raceway Regional Trainer)