Develop And Build Your Leader Team: Habit #2 of Highly Effective Lay Ministers

You have your team. Now it is time to pour into them. Investing in your leadership will reap huge dividends down the road. Yes, it takes time, energy and effort. Yes, it might be very frustrating at times. However, it is all worth it if you do it well.

One of the tools you may wish to employ is called Strengths Finder. This is a personality assessment that was created thru the Gallup organization. Individuals take an online assessment and it provides their top 5 Signature Themes – these are naturally occurring traits or patterns.

The Catholic version is called Living Your Strengths (LYS). You can purchase the book (which comes with a one-time code to take the assessment) to try it for yourself if you like ( If your team members took the assessment, you can start to see where their potential strengths lie. The purpose is to help them understand how God created them and what they do best.

For example, one of the themes is called WOO (Winning Others Over). This is your salesman – the person who likes to shake everyone’s hand, to work the room. They are very friendly, social and outgoing. Being with people energizes them. If you were to take this person and stick them in the back room preparing the snacks, they will soon grow frustrated. Instead, this person would be the ideal candidate to be out in the room greeting and welcoming everyone as they came in. This is their sweet spot. It was what they do best.

Purchasing these LYS books and discussing/processing these results as a group could be enlightening and liberating for everyone involved. They would not only know their own God given talents, but would better understand how the other team members function as well. People could choose their roles in the ministry based upon their strengths. I have coached various teams and staffs with the LYS tool and it is very affirming and powerful.

Besides utilizing LYS, there are a million creative ideas to build and encourage your team members. Here are just a few…

  1. Send them to a local ministry conference and pay half their registration fee.
  2. Give out great door prizes (not just cheesy ones) at the end of leadership trainings or meetings.
  3. Connect everyone via social media and build those relationships.
  4. Send out regular emails or posts keeping them informed.
  5. Host a mid-year “whine and cheese” event allowing them to gather together and share their ideas/struggles.
  6. Give out little appreciation gifts throughout the year to let them know you are thinking of them and praying for them and their families.
  7. Publicly acknowledge their efforts with an insert in the bulletin and a full page on the website.
  8. Start each year with a retreat just for them.
  9. Create an atmosphere of mutual respect, teamwork and honesty.
  10. FEED THEM OFTEN (good food works for all ages)!

One of your main roles is to be a minister to the ministers. Your team members are usually the ones in the trenches working directly with the kids. They may have a great heart, but could be inexperienced or ill equipped to do ministry effectively. They may not have any formal theological education or ministry experience or training of any kind in this area. Be sure to help guide them along so they feel more confident. You can have the newest curriculum, the biggest budget and the fanciest building in town, but nothing is more important than the ministry leaders themselves. The Lord works thru people to draw young people to Himself. Your team members are the most important link in the chain. Do everything you can to strengthen them in their mission to evangelize and disciple!

Bruce Baumann is the Director of Faith Formation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, TX. He received his Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and has been involved in professional youth ministry for 20+ years. Bruce is a certified catechetical instructor in the Dallas Diocese and a Life Coach for the Living Your Strengths movement. He is passionate about training ministry leaders and has had the joy of presenting workshops and retreats at conferences and parishes around the country.