What Every Volunteer Should Know

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volunteers-should-knowOn teams, in work forces, and even in youth ministries, the saying “you are only as good as your team” can be applied.

I would guess that in youth ministry there is more turnover in youth leaders and youth volunteers than most ministry areas of the church.  These are seven ways that we, as youth leaders, can help equip our volunteers so that they are in the trenches of youth ministry for the long haul.

Help them see why they are there

It is difficult to know where you are going if you don’t know where you are. Reminding the leaders why they are helping in student ministry will help them keep sight of why it is important to stay in student ministry.  This can be accomplished through testimony sharing of yourself, sharing victories in the ministry, asking volunteers questions like ‘why do you feel called to help in student ministry?’ and ‘what is your favorite part about student ministry?’

Mission Statement for the Ministry

Whether is it ‘Connect, Grow, Serve’ or ‘Reach Up, Reach Out, Reach In’ your leaders should be able to communicate what the purpose is behind the ministry to parents, students, the Senior Pastor, and just about anyone in between.  This keeps everyone focused on the goal. I like to have my volunteers repeat the mission statement back to me at least once a month, and I put it on everything.

Explain Your Philosophy of Ministry

Whether you use the youth ministry funnel or the ‘hey, y’all come’ philosophy, the leaders should know it or at least be able to say what it is called.  They need to know what the ministry has to offer students so that when they talk to a parent or student they know how to connect them and what is the best way to do so whether it be a youth band, a small group because the student is shy, or a reach event.

Safe Sanctuaries

Volunteers should know the rules in the church involving who can and can not work with students, as well as, the rules on how to do so to keep students and leaders safe.

Make Clear Expectations

I have a volunteer covenant that all volunteers sign saying they understand everything from how to contact me in case you can’t be there to how to not “act a fool” in public because they represent Christ, as well as, the church.

Help them Remember that They are Leaders

They need to know that they are not just there to show up, serve, and leave.  They need to be told that students and parents look to them for cues on how to react and live.  Also, they need to know that they have the authority to have ownership and make calls in small group settings, with maintaining “ordered chaos” during activities, and calling students to live as leaders.

Show Them that They are Loved

They need to be asked frequently how they are doing.  Youth Ministers need to follow up with them and make sure they are being fed spiritually.  Help connect them so that they are.  Tokens of gratitude often, thank you notes, and a text of encouragement or prayer can go a long way!

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Caroline has served in student ministry for almost 10 years, and is currently the Youth and Young Adult Minister at Destin United Methodist Church in Destin, FL and co-founder of WAVES Girls Event, a conference for girls ages 14-24. Getting a call into youth ministry at age 16 in Nashville, TN led to Caroline getting a degree in Youth and Family Ministry and a certificate through PREPARE/ENRICH for Premarital Counseling at Abilene Christian University in 2009. She got her start in full time student ministry at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX. Caroline loves to encourage students in their faith, and see them be lights in their community. Some things Caroline enjoys is time on the beach, reading, sushi, coffee, traveling and time with her friends and family. You can follower her on her blog, called “Big Hare & Big Faith,” www.carolinehare.wordpress.com, or on Instagram and Twitter: @CarolineHare

1 COMMENT

  1. I am just starting a youth group at my church. I was asked by my pastor if I could try it out. She has told others and myself that she sees a lot a lot of compassion in me and feels like I could really make a difference. Any advice from others youth group leaders would be very helpful to me

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