We talks about some great gifts for volunteers in your Youth Ministry this Christmas.Continue Reading...
Archives For volunteers
I am one of those youth workers who know my short comings and love surrounding myself with people who can help build me up in ministry. It makes ministry ministry go so much smoother and helps hit every single student as opposed to only those that I can reach. One of the unexpected outcomes of surrounding myself with these people is the wealth of knowledge that they can offer. Each volunteer that comes on board is an expert at something in their lives and can bring so much to the table.
Here are four of my own volunteers that I will be seeking out this next year to help teach me something about doing better ministry:
- Jim: Jim is currently working on his doctorate in team management and I have loved sitting in Starbucks and simply listening to him talk about how we can better work on streamlining “the process” and improving tactics to bring out the best qualities in each member to make the whole system better. He is also a part-time professor at a local university and it is my hope that this next year, he will be willing to take over an hour of our volunteer training to teach on the “best of” in systems techniques for our group.
- Rob: Rob is a professor of business management at the Air Force Academy and has a wealth of knowledge on how to handle money. So when I put together my budget this next year, I will be sitting down with him to discuss how best to use our money and setting up checks and balances through out the year to manage this money.
- Kristin: Kristin is currently a stay-at-home mom, but she has her undergrad and masters in school counseling and someone that I want to have on board if something terrible were to happen. I am hoping to put together a “crisis plan” for staff and volunteers in our youth ministry and will be consulting with her to make sure that all of my bases are covered for the different situations that could potentially happen.
- David: Working in a military environment, I know very little about this third-world culture and so I will be seeking him out in how we can better impact this community this summer. With his many years serving our country, he will be able to bring unique ideas to the table.
Do you allow volunteers to bring their experience to the table? If so, how do you let them teach you?Continue Reading...
Youth ministry is all about working within different seasons. At times, you will have more students attending your events than you ever thought and at other times, you are unsure where everyone is at. The same is true with volunteers, sometimes you have little or no volunteers and at other times, you are unsure what to do with everyone you have. Of course, the number of volunteers you have is based directly n how much effort you put towards them but we must not forget that sometimes there is no new resources to draw from to find new volunteers to replace those who are done for now.
Youth Specialties highlighted a rockstar volunteer, Verna Kline, recently on their website who is an 81 year old volunteer youth worker who has been volunteering for 63 years. Here is the video of Tic Long at NYWC honoring her many years of service.
Because there are different seasons to volunteers’ lives and getting new volunteers, we need to be always promoting an environment of life-long volunteers with youth ministry. So when we run into those seasons of low numbers of volunteers, we can lean on those who are in it for the long haul.
- Let them know your expectations from the start. If you tell them they are going to be doing games up-front, do not force them to do a sermon or lead small group without first asking for their permission..
- Publicly praise their years of volunteers. If you have those volunteers who have served for 5, 10, 15, 0r more years, praise them to your staff, students, congregations and other volunteers. Let them know you love them as well as other volunteers who may look up to them.
- Know their volunteer love languages. That means that you need to know what stresses them out and what builds them up. Then use that valuable knowledge to put them in the perfect volunteer roles. If they hate public speaking, they may be the perfect small group leaders.
- Set them up for the win. We all love to have those moments when our excitement is renewed because of some kind of win. If we can become selfless and give that opportunity to a volunteer when we see it, we will be empowering them more than words ever can.
- Allow for “vacations” from ministry instead of “retirements.” Life is hard and when volunteers have their own children, careers, and other expectations and goals, you can do everything right by your volunteers and they still need to stop volunteering. But instead of saying good-bye to them, communicate instead that it is good-bye for now, letting them know you are welcoming them back when they are ready.
- Invest in them personally, rather than just professionally. I am all about talking with volunteers, getting their opinions on topics of youth ministry, and asking for creative ideas for ministry. But I love to simply hang out with my volunteers, over coffee, a dinner, or board games. Open up the opportunities to be with volunteers beyond trainings and at youth group and live life with them.
How else do you try to get life-long volunteers?Continue Reading...
Today we recap Youth for Christ’s 5 Essentials that we had been reviewing on the website this week and the whole purpose of needing to critique our ministry.Continue Reading...
When I was a student, I had several different role models in life. A youth worker, parents, coach, grandparents, teacher, and principal. The connection that all of these people had in my life besides me is that they were all Christians. But the even better fact is that the youth worker I admired knew and regularly talked to every one of them. In fact, I remember talking to my coach and teacher about his ministry and they had nothing but praise to say about them.
I know that I am a nerdy, introverted, tennis playing guy that relates well with the teenager that stands in the back of the room or the student who loves to play ping pong. What I do not do well is keeping up with middle school girls’ conversations, wrestling techniques, or the latest and greatest men’s and women’s fashion. If I did not have the people in my life that knew and were interested in these things, I could be alienating many students.
Youth for Christ has described Adults Who Empower as “We strategically develop leaders to reach young people from every people group.” In fact, YFC’s official slogan is to reach “every kid, one at a time.” It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to fulfill this mission without adults who are able to come alongside and support this ministry and God’s Kingdom. Let me repeat that Lone Ranger, IMPOSSIBLE.
So who are people that you can you reach and how can they empower teenagers?
The obvious group that works in your ministry and hopefully knows the details of events, they can reinforce club times, reflection of lessons, and living a Biblical life outside of youth group.
Regardless of media, peers, and other factors, parents are still the most influential people in a teenager’s life. Giving parents the tools to have effective dinner conversations, encouraging them to model Biblical lives, and letting them know about the details of youth group can be your biggest impact in these teens lives.
In the heat of battle and in an event that requires deep commitment and effort, coaches can teach the Biblical principles and morals in the locker room as well as on the field. (FCA?)
- School staff
Teens spend more hours at school than they do at home awake. Teachers who know what is happening there can refer students who are hurting to you and you can have an inside ear to school functions.
Beyond training volunteers, how do you empower adults in your community?Continue Reading...
I am thankful for a lot of people who poured into me, and my life. Sometimes there are moments in ministry when you are able to look back and appreciate the people who have helped you get to where you are today. Maybe that is during a slow time, or maybe that can be during this Thanksgiving. When I step back and look at my ministry I realize that it isn’t mine. It’s God’s.
Here are 3 simple ways I show my leaders how thankful for all they do:
- Pray. I pray for my leaders. They are investing in teenager’s lives, and that is on top of everything else. I pray for them, their spouse, family members. They are encouraged knowing that they are being prayed for, and not just saying the words “I’ll be praying for you”, and forget.
- Build Relationships. Do you want to work for someone you don’t know? I sure don’t. I take my leaders out for lunch a few times a year, and once a year all together. Sometimes we meet for wings, other times we meet at the local starbucks. I do try to meet with my leaders once every two months one on one, or if my leader is a woman I will meet with her and her husband.
- Cards. This isn’t something that I picked up naturally. Actually, I hate doing this (My love language is not gifts!). My mentor is a relational genius. He would write 40 cards a month. I have learned from him, and my leaders always appreciate it. If you send a card make sure it’s snail mail.
Those are a few ways you can show your leaders you are thankful for them. How else do you thank you leaders for all they do?Continue Reading...
I love working with my volunteers at USAFA Club Beyond and have found that when they decide they want to serve in this ministry, that it becomes more than just spending an hour at youth group. When a volunteer signs up to serve these students, they are joining a community of people that have a heart for showing teenagers who Jesus is and impacting the whole family. Because of this community, I have found that these relationships with my volunteers go deep.
So it goes to say that when something so tragic happens in one of their lives as happened in our community last week, I cannot simply respond with an “I’m sorry.” When I heard the news, life stopped. I spent the next twenty minutes on the phone, called my own prayer partners, dedicated most of our prayer time the last several days to their situation, brought them food, and have talked with them for at least a half an hour every day. Again, life stopped.
When I heard this news, my mind and heart instantly went to the Psalms and the pain that David was feeling. Because of the heart of these volunteers, I was able to share Scripture with them, pray for them, and know that this time of sorrow would lead back to joy. Yet, many of our conversations have led to tears for the both of us and I want to help shoulder some of the grief for them.
Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction.
I would love to say that everything is hunky dory, but their is still sadness. Yet, this community of volunteers have come to surround this couple and I love their hearts more than ever. They will never be the same, this whole ministry will never be the same, and we know that this is all for God’s glory.
How close are your volunteers with you? How would your community of volunteers respond to a crisis like this?Continue Reading...