Selecting your Leadership Team

friend-in-needWhat is the value of having a leadership team?

We stress the importance of a team for the following reasons:

  • Volunteers are more apt to say “yes” if they know they are sharing the responsibilities
  • Manageable commitment for your volunteers and staff
  • A team can divide responsibilities according to gifts after attending Foundations for BeFriender Ministry
  • A consistent vision for the ministry
  • Peer support for leading the ministry
  • Continuity in the event of leadership turnover
  • Accountability for the ministry
  • It can be fun!

Composition of the team

  • It is recommended that two to five people serve on the leadership team and attend “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” together.
  • Clergy and/or another paid staff person. At least one staff person must be on the leadership team as the person with ultimate accountability for the program on behalf of the church or organization. This person is the program supervisor.
  • Volunteer  leader(s). One to three volunteers also serve on the leadership team.
  • The staff person(s) and volunteer(s) together comprise the leadership team.

Responsibilities of the team

The members of the leadership team carry out these functions for the ministry:

  • Trainer. Leads skill development. Trains BeFriender candidates and provides continuing education for BeFrienders.
  • Facilitator. Leads group process. Facilitates a small group process for learning from ministry and supervises BeFrienders.
  • Administrator. Leads program implementation and maintenance. Receives referrals, assigns BeFrienders, regularly evaluates the program, and publicizes the program.

These functions may be filled by anyone on the leadership team. It is recommended that at least two people share or divide the responsibilities. You do not need to determine roles prior to leadership traning.

General qualifications of team members

The following are qualifications of all members of the leadership team.

  • A person of faith with a strong sense of God’s presence.
  • Willingness and ability to look at an issue from another’s point of view.
  • Willingness and ability to offer time each week to BeFriender Ministry.
  • Ability to actively listen to people.
  • Understanding of the importance of confidentiality.
  • No known active chemical dependency problems.
  • Open and willing to learn and grow.
  • Ability to communicate clearly.
  • Ability to be reasonably nonjudgmental.
  • Organizational ability.
  • Accessibility (not out of town or otherwise unavailable for extended periods of time).

Why clergy and/or at least one paid staff person attend

  • They have ultimate accountability for the ministry in their setting.
  • Their attendance demonstrates support for volunteer program leaders.
  • They can best support the ministry if they understand it well.
  • Their visibility and participation adds credibility and public support for the ministry.
  • They are responsible for integration of this ministry with other ministries and programs in the church.
  • They may choose to have a role in training, facilitation, and or administration of the ministry.

Why 1–3 volunteers attend

  • They will have a role in training, facilitation, and or administration of the ministry.
  • Their participation demonstrates ownership by the laity.
  • Their participation demonstrates that ministry belongs to the community.

Program leader position description

The following are responsibilities of all program leaders on the leadership team.

  1. Attend the “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” workshop.
  2. Work with other members of the leadership team to prepare the church or organization for BeFriender Ministry.
  3. Meet with other members of the leadership team to develop a program plan and goals.
  4. Participate in the discernment process for calling forth potential BeFrienders.
  5. Regularly meet with other members of the leadership team to:
    • review the status of the program and monitor progress.
    • identify needs that have arisen.
  6. Participate in an annual evaluation of the BeFriender Ministry program with other members of the leadership team based on the specific goals that were established.

The following are specific responsibilities for the three program leader functions


  1. Train BeFriender candidates.
  2. Provide continuing education to BeFrienders.


  1. Supervise BeFrienders.
  2. Conduct regular group meetings for BeFrienders.
  3. Regularly facilitate Making Meaning with BeFrienders.
  4. Identify continuing education needs that arise from group meetings.
  5. Conduct an annual, one-to-one evaluation process with each BeFriender.


  1. Prepare publicity materials.
  2. Hold information meetings for calling forth potential BeFriender candidates
  3. Match BeFrienders with those in need of pastoral care.
  4. Meet annually with other program leaders to evaluate and plan for BeFriender Ministry continuing education.
  5. Keep accurate records to help ensure accountability for the BeFriender program.


The following are specific qualifications for the three program leader functions.


  1. Basic understanding of adult learning principles.
  2. Ability to comfortably present to a group.


  1. Ability to keep a group on track.
  2. Ability to supervise individuals.


  1. Creativity for publicizing the ministry and planning continuing education for BeFrienders.
  2. Record-keeping skills.

Discernment Questions for Potential Program Leaders