Preparing Your Outpost for Generation Next
One of the greatest challenges facing our churches today is finding and equipping leaders to accept the challenge of mentoring our boys and young men. This lack of leadership and mentoring for our younger generation is increasingly placing established Royal Rangers Outposts at risk as older leaders retire and move out of day-to-day ministry creating a void in the rank and file. The good news is, there are specific, actionable items that your Outpost can undertake today that will not only help to preserve a healthy, well equipped team of leaders, but also raise up new leaders from the young men that are being mentored.
It has often been said that a trained leader is a committed leader. It is noticeable in Royal Rangers that leaders who receive training are more likely to feel equipped to lead their boys in weekly outpost meetings. Experiencing successful outpost meetings brings with it longevity as opposed to leaders who are left to “figure it out” on their own. Training is a critical component in the leadership development process because it enforces successful mentoring methods, such as “hear, see, do, teach”. The National Royal Rangers Ministry is an adult facilitated, boy-led ministry that is most effective when leaders are not heavily involved in directing all the boys on every aspect of the outpost meeting. It is very easy for an adult leader to take a an assertive role in managing an outpost; however, the best results are found in fostering the adult-facilitated, boy-led environment.
A Royal Rangers Leader’s training does not end with the basic courses offered through the local district. While challenging, it is important that leaders continue to grow once they’ve completed the Organizational Leaders Advancement Levels, and the National Office offers multiple options for continuous learning including learning electives such as Discipleship, Mentoring Special Needs Boys, and others.
Outpost pride is not the type of pride that is held in vein; rather, it is a sense of wanting to belong and participate with the Outpost inside and outside of the church. Leaders carry a good deal of responsibility for helping to establish outpost pride, and that is fostered through regular Royal Rangers training for both adults and boys. Pride can also be extended beyond your outpost meetings and into other church ministries such as Men’s Ministries, Mpact Girls, and others. Royal Rangers should support other ministries and be viewed as a resource. Rather than feeling like a ministry that is taken advantage of, leaders would be well served feeling pride in the fact that they are regularly called upon to serve other ministries, after all, we are all on the same team, and the victories of the one benefit the greater good.
Some practical first steps to establishing outpost pride are publicly recognizing the accomplishments of your leaders by posting their certificates in a public area that the entire congregation can see. Maintain a regular method of communicating with your pastor the events and accomplishments of the boys and leaders in your outpost. By sharing the good news happening in your ministry with the leadership in your church, you not only have an opportunity to share your accomplishments, but also the plans you have to further the mission of the church.
Royal Rangers is built to be an adult-facilitated, boy-led ministry. In order to accomplish the boy-led portion of the ministry, we have to train up our boys. This cannot be accomplished by using Bible Merits alone. The most effective way to task new junior leaders is by utilizing the complete array of material available to Royal Ranger Leaders. These include skill merits, leadership merits, and district facilitated training events.
Skill merits and leadership merits are available as part of a TracKClub subscription. The biggest challenge in conducting a skill or leadership merit is planning and preparation. Leaders must plan to have the proper supplies in place to conduct the merit, and involve other men or women from within the church to help facilitate them. If there are people within the church with special skills, who are passionate about what they do, it would be good to try to involve them in the training of the boys. This serves as a double opportunity to attract new leaders, either full-time or part-time.
District facilitated training is a great opportunity to introduce your boys to the framework of the Royal Rangers mentoring ministry, and have them bring that leadership back into the outpost. The biggest challenge to district facilitated training is often times related to the cost of the event. This requires some creative work by the leaders to offset the costs incurred by parents. This can be done through fundraising, scholarships, or advanced planning. For example, collecting regular outpost dues allows outposts to offset event costs by drawing down from the dues that are collected. Engaging other ministries for scholarships allows families to have some “skin” in the game, while still providing a discount. District facilitated training is highly recommended because boys are able to get outside of their comfort zone and learn from other trained and tested leaders.
Whichever method(s) you choose to employ, it is important to identify, activate, and resource young leaders to ensure that a continual source of leadership is readily available within the outpost. Outposts will wither away if leadership remains stagnant. Like a body of non-moving water, life ceases to grow without the proper elements. In the case of a Royal Rangers Outpost, it is leadership, but young and old, new and seasoned.