Our collaboration with the youth ministry is Sporadic.

Your Question:

“How do I increase the collaboration between the CM and the YM?”

The Issues:

If the collaboration is sporadic, that means that the “core value” of the collaboration isn’t focused. Rather than being driven by a “that would be fun” perspective, the purpose for the collaboration must be shifted to a “this is critical” perspective. This shift requires humility and a “big picture” perspective.

Scripture Foundation:

“The body is a unit, though it is composed of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body…For the body does not consist of one part, but of many…God has composed the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have mutual concern for one another.”   1Corinthians 12: 12, 14, 24

Short Answer:

Since you, as the CM director, are asking this question, it probably implies that the director of the YM may not understand the value of more collaboration between the CM and the YM. If this is true, that means that the YM needs to understand what you already understand. 


Since you are dealing with human nature, and the strong possibility of an ego inflated by the position (leader of a ministry), you must be very careful in how you approach this topic.  A good idea is to send the YM director an email asking him/her for a meeting to discuss ways that the CM can better support the YM.  This approach is almost guaranteed to result in a scheduled meeting between the two of you because it doesn’t include any possible threat to the YM director’s ego.  It is a humble question that will open the door for conversations about how the CM and the YM can work together. 


At the meeting, invite the YM director to answer a very important question: “What do you need the incoming children (sixth graders?) to know, feel, or “be” in order for them to flow comfortably into the youth ministry?” I can tell you from experience, that this will probably be a new challenge for the YM director.  He/she may have never thought about this question because of the “traditional” approach to ministry in today’s Church. 


Today’s Church tends to view ministry areas as separate “silos” within the local church.  The women’s ministry operates separately from the men’s ministry, and the youth ministry operates separately from the children’s ministry.  This “silo” mentality creates “walls” between the various ministries until someone suggests that the various ministries could actually feed into, or collaborate with each other.  So, the YM director may need some help in responding to the question. 


You might suggest that the two of you consider the children’s spirituality, their “servant hearts,” and their interest in spreading the Gospel in the local community, the county, and the world (Acts 1:8).  This initial question may lead into a very long, deep conversation that produces a natural, or “organic” desire to collaborate between the CM and the YM.


During this initial meeting (you might experience a series of meetings about this new question), ask the YM about ways that he/she can help the incoming graduated children to feel comfortable, connected, or welcome with the youth and the YM programs.  The “bottom line” in all of these conversations is to establish the value of collaboration between the YM and the CM.  Obviously, neither of you want the children to be involved in every YM program. The youth don’t want that, and that would significantly change the focus of the YM.  The purpose for the increased collaboration is to build a bridge between the CM and the YM. It is also important for the youth to get a sense of being examples to the children, and possibly even building mentoring relationships with the children. 


In one of your meetings with the YM director, it would be good to look at the YM yearly calendar of events and consider which events might be open to the sixth graders (or graduating fifth graders). If there are three or four YM events that can include invitations to the graduating children, that would be a powerful ministry aspect for the YM.  The YM director could “sell” this cross-age ministry idea to the youth, and they could begin to understand the value of mentoring or collaboration. 


You might also consider holding big events that could be shared with the YM and the CM.  An example of this idea might be a sporting event, a well-known guest appearance, etc.  Having a famous stunt team, sports hero, or musical star come to the church would be a perfect event to share with the CM. 


Whatever you do, you should have a plan that is created and shared by you and the YM director that builds fruitful collaboration between the two ministries for the sake of the children, the youth, and the parents! For more help in strengthening the collaboration between the youth ministry and the CM, click on the APPENDIX link below.

“Collaborating With The Youth Ministry APPENDIX”

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