leverage as a volunteer

“make the most of every opportunity.” paul’s advice is unbelievably relevant to a volunteer youth leader.

for most of my “career” as a volunteer, i’ve had the luxury of a really flexible schedule. this school year, though, i’m finding what it’s like to have a full time work schedule and not be able to do every single event i’d like to do with the  youth group. i can’t imagine how anybody with young kids can volunteer effectively. in fact, several i know have taken a break while their kids were young, some to return later, some to move on entirely.

while i do miss being able to show up to everything, it’s made me more aware of how i use the limited time i have. while any opportunity to spend time inside kids’ world outside church walls is important, when you can catch more than one at a time, your time investment multiplies.

last week rene and i went to the cyt (Christian youth theater) production of “aladdin jr.” we love going anyway, and have actually gone to a couple we didn’t even know anybody in. but whenever we go, it seems like there are 8 or 10 kids from youth group performing. the funny thing is we often have multiple kids or parents thank us for coming to see them. they all assume we’re there to see their kid. (shhh. don’t tell, k?) the same effect comes into play if there are a couple kids on the same sports team. once i actually had like 6 of my boys playing, 2 on one team and 4 on the other. hard to decide who to cheer for, but they all loved that i was there.

they were not only the envy of their entire table, you could see them beaming from across the room.

i’ve written several times about the impact my (once-)weekly lunches with ben have had. i am still trying to get to him every couple of weeks, but this year i’m finally making it to other schools to bring lunch to kids in this year’s group. today i took fazoli’s to two of my 6th graders. they were not only the envy of their entire table, you could see them beaming from across the room. that just doesn’t happen most wednesday nights.

as a volunteer, or even as a paid youth worker, make every effort to spend time in kids’ lives outside of church activities. go to games, go to concerts and plays, and arrange to bring in lunch. it is worth way more than your time and money. and if you can find more than one at a time, the leverage pays off.

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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