1. Volunteers- You need a good core group of volunteers. This benefits you, your students, but also your volunteers. Because your volunteers can begin to feel overwhelmed just like you can, but since they are not getting paid it does not take as much for them to want to leave. Now you cannot just choose anyone though just so you can have a massive army of volunteers. You need to do a background check and have some sort of application process so you can get to know them but also know where there best fit may be. This does not have to be a super grueling process but a little vetting is a good idea. But in this do not be too picky. I think sometimes we get a picture in our minds of what a leader should be and that is not necessarily God's picture. So keep an open mind because sometimes what I consider to be the most awkward people end up being the best leaders. The last thing I will say about your volunteers is that you need to empower them to lead. You need to cast the vision for them that their small group or their portion of the ministry is theirs and they need to run with it. They need to invest in their students with all their hearts and follow God's leading for them. Yes you still have a hand on things but this will lighten their load, make them better leaders because they are more invested, and make them want to stick around longer because they have a purpose to fulfill.
2. Students- Your students cannot be in your ministry just to watch a show. You need to give them opportunities to serve and lead in your ministry and in the church as a whole. This way they get a taste of leadership and serving God and like your volunteers have a more of a reason to stick around. But you also need to equip and empower them to be leaders in their neighborhoods, on their campuses, and sometimes in their homes. Because they have a work that God is calling them to do at this point in their lives and you need to help them find that work, so that not only their generation gets reached but they also become the leaders who can work to reach the next generation.
3. Parents- I will not say too much on this because often the parents of your students are your volunteers. But for those who are not, and even for those who are I suppose, you need to encourage them to be leaders in their homes and neighborhoods spiritually. Because things just work out best when they are filling these roles. But also for those who are not full time volunteers in your ministry, look for ways to incorporate them from time to time and listen to them and draw from the wisdom that many of them have. Let them that your desire is to work with them as a team to help their child grow spiritually instead of you just doing it all on your own.
4. Discipleship- I could just say train your leaders but I feel it goes deeper than that. We are called to make disciples not just offer good training. And while training meetings are a part of this where you help your leaders learn how to counsel and better run their small groups, I believe we need to see our role more as building disciples. Because at the end of the day our goal in developing leaders is to help our students, volunteers, and parents grow in their relationship with Christ so that they can turn around and reach others and lead them to do the same. This is the essence of discipleship and should be at the forefront of our minds at all times. So know two things. This idea of building leaders does not happen. It is an active role you must play in the lives of your students, volunteers, and parents. And second, think of it as more than just filling holes in your ministry and community. Raise the bar and think of it as discipleship.
I cannot begin to tell you the difference it will make in your ministry if you have a strong core of leaders. It not only makes your life a little easier but more importantly it dramatically increases the impact of your ministry. If you do not have a team of leaders in place you need to make this priority number one. If you do, then keep up the good work and let others know how to do the same.