A few years ago, the Washington Post’s Baseball Insider Dave Sheinin posted a diagram illustrating how stability in a Baseball team’s organization yielded success during that current baseball season.
They took the number of position players with at least 500 plate appearances, starting pitchers with at least 25 starts and relief pitchers with 50 or more games pitched. Based on the teams that posted the highest score in these combined categories, the top 10 all had winning records and six were headed to the playoffs. Contrary to this, seven of the eight teams that posted the lowest combined score were at least 10 games under .500.
“So what are you getting at Tom? What does this all mean?”
Dave Sheinin was pointing out that the more stable the team’s roster was, the more successful it was. However, the least stable the team was, the least successful they were.
In the same way, I believe that the more stable our Student Ministry Volunteer Team is, the more stable our Youth Program will be and the more students will be engaged. And the reason for this is simple. Consistency.
When we have Volunteers that are consistently investing in students year after year, it provides an avenue for deeper relationships that develop over time. In middle school we only have 2-3 years with them (at the most). If we have a heavy turnover in volunteer leaders year after year, that means new leaders are constantly starting over with student. Then, when finally those relationship are really developing, they move on to high school.
In the same way, with high school students, if we have leaders who are lasting just a year or two, that means new leaders have to start those relationships over after students already have been invested in. It makes for a lot of inconsistency in the lives of student at a time when consistency is really what students need. They need a familiar face who has built up trust with them and can love them through all that they are going to be going through.
That is why I believe that stability equals success in youth ministry. So, if this is the case, what can we do as Team Leaders to increase the chances of our leaders staying involved for the long haul? What can we do to increase stability so students can have someone invest in them for many years, not just a new face every other year?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.