I found a new youth ministry resource recently called Youth Ministry 360 (technically forthcoming, but their blog is up now). My Google alert for the term “volunteer youth ministry” pushes a lot of irrelevant posts, but this one really scratched me where I was itching. A sample:
Let’s face it. We (and by we I mean us personally and our ministries) can’t survive without great volunteer leaders working alongside us. Yet, finding, and more importantly keeping them can be a huge challenge. Here are some tips for to successfully mobilize a group of excellent adult leaders.
- Have a vision worth catching–If you haven’t developed your philosophy of student ministry yet, start there. Put on paper exactly what you believe the Biblical and cultural purposes of student ministry are. What should student ministry accomplish? What role will your adult leaders play in that?
- Recruit the best–I don’t mean find the coolest, most talented people. I look for humble, teachable, faithful people of integrity who love students. I can teach these people student ministry. I would rather have one solid leader (who might not be super cool) than a dozen average ones.
- Provide the best training–If you don’t have a budget line for leadership training, make one. Even if it means cutting other places. A well-trained leadership team is more effective than a hundred camps, retreats, and day trips to play paintball. Take members of your team to ministry conferences. Develop a training plan with reading and writing requirements, opportunities to put into practice what they’re learning, and opportunities for them to train others. If you don’t require anything from your leaders, your ministry won’t be worth their time to follow.
There’s more…10 Ways to Attract and Keep Volunteer Youth Workers
I am thrilled that our paid-staff leadership team does really well on almost all of these. Per #10 (go read it), I won’t say here which ones I want to see improved. I’ll save that for a private conversation.
I will say that CCC does enough of these well that we have “attracted” some of the finest volunteers I’ve ever worked with, and we’ve “kept” many of them for 4, 6, even 9 years or more. That kind of consistency reaps huge rewards.