Team Dynamics: How to Help Your Team Members Use Their Unique Gifts

Tim Branch October 1, 2019

This semester on Tuesdays we’re taking a deep dive into Young Life team dynamics. If you missed the first couple posts, check them out here:

This sixth post in the series was written by Tim Branch. 

Young Life can be one of
the most rewarding, amazing things you can possibly do.

It can also be one of the hardest, most discouraging things you can possibly do.

Nothing pushes on your insecurity like being alone in a lunchroom and having a table of sophomores say, “Don’t you have friends your own age?”

When we sign up as leaders, we sign up for that stuff. We sacrifice because Jesus did it for us first.

But here’s the thing:

When you already don’t really feel a sense of belonging on your team, or if you’re having a hard time finding your place in the ministry…those confidence gut-punches start adding up quick. 

Pretty soon, you start having these thoughts:

  • Why am I still a Young Life leader, if all I do is fail at it? 
  • I don’t feel like I’m bringing anything to the team. 
  • Maybe I’ll just quit…I doubt anyone would care.

Every year, hundreds of leaders with so much potential, quit leading. Many quit because they never discovered how they “fit” into the team. 

And that sucks.

But the good news is, we can do something about it. So let’s talk about how we can help all our team members feel a deep sense of belonging—and make a massive, eternal impact.

3 ways we can help every leader feel a sense of purpose on the team

  • Figure out the unique giftings of ALL your fellow leaders.

Think about this:

You have all these people on your team, good at different things. But a few things in Young Life are normally praised above all others.

The people great at program and skits? They get tons of applause. 

The people entertaining a circle of 15 smiling high school kids? They look like the best leaders.

But those “celebrated” things represent a tiny fraction of the spiritual gifts God has equipped Young Life leaders with, to bring Jesus to our high school friends. 

What gifts might your other leaders have, that might not have been called out yet? 

Nothing creates a sense of belonging like knowing you offer something valuable to the team.

  • Consistently call those gifts out of your fellow leaders. 

There are so many ways a leader can make a positive impact on the team. 

For instance:

  • Insightful, thoughtful leaders are often amazing at pastoral care, offering guidance and warmth to hurting kids.
  • Certain leaders have a warm presence and you can tell they’re wired to love kids extremely well. When kids feel unconditionally loved, their walls come tumbling down.
  • The more reserved leaders are amazing with wallflowers in the back of club, whereas the loud leaders overwhelm them. That gives your team the ability to reach a whole new type of kid.

The best Young Life teams make sure EVERY leader knows they’re a necessary part of the Body.

  • Help your fellow leaders grow into those gifts.

Think of one single leader on your team who may feel like they don’t help much. 

What would happen if they grew into their unique gifts and used them in your ministry? 

They would change the school!

If you get consistently frustrated with a certain leader, think about this:  They might just not have grown into their gifts yet. 

Each person was created in God’s image. That means every leader has a unique mix of ingredients of God’s personality, and that’s where their ministry potential lies. 

How can you see those things in them, believing in them when maybe no one else ever has before? 

How can you help call that out of them, identifying who they could become and helping them get there—without forcing them into a role that feels unnatural to them?

Better yet, how can you start seeing those things in yourself?

The better we can care for each other in community, the better we start working as one body. The way we were originally designed to be.  

And that’s when amazing things start happening in our Young Life clubs.

(P.S: A while back, I wrote a 27-page ebook to help introverted leaders find their gifts. It’s called Am I Really Cut Out for Young Life? You can have a copy for free here.)

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