On 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.
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!