Developing Your Adult Volunteers As Leaders

Developing Your Adult Volunteers As Leaders
By Doug Franklin

Having good adult volunteers in your youth ministry makes all the difference. It’s a great feeling when you have a few people that “get it” and can come along side of you to help make an impact in students’ lives. You feel so blessed when you see these leaders developing and mentoring students. But what if there was more? Now I know your thinking, “Doug come on, just to get a few ‘get its’ took years, now you want me to believe there is more?” Yes, I believe there is more and I believe that it might be easier than you think to take your “get its” too the next level. I’m talking about the level of youth ministry leader.

Having a few good volunteers is nice, but why stop there? Think about what it would mean for your ministry if you had several new youth ministry leaders. People who were willing to own a piece of the ministry, nurture it, and grow it like you have. And even do that based on the shared mission that God has given you. The key is to first discover their passion then match it with their strengths. Let me give you some action steps to make this happen.

I. Passion Discovery

We define passion as what you love to do. It’s what gets you up in the morning. It’s what you’re doing when you feel God smiling down on you (to steal a line from Chariots of Fire). It’s closely tied to your burden but it’s a little different. While your burden might be students, your passion could easily be discipleship, evangelism, or maybe hospitality. To help you and your volunteers discover your passion, LeaderTreks offers a free downloadable passion survey in Free Downloads section of our Web site ( Discovering passion is an important step for people because they will take more leadership risks when they feel passionate about the activity. Think about for yourself. Where do you lead in the strongest way and feel the most satisfaction? I bet it’s an arena of passion for you.

Helping your volunteers discover their passion will unleash their leadership potential in a whole new way. They will be more committed to the cause. They will be more willing to sacrifice for the students. And they will enjoy more satisfaction as a volunteer leader. Connecting your ministry to what your volunteers are passionate about will keep them engaged for the long haul.

2. Strengths Match

The next step is to match their strengths to their area of passion. One common mistake we make as ministry leaders is to place people in roles where the ministry is crumbling; this only leads to failure. As leaders we need to give our best people the greatest opportunities for growth in our ministries. Your leaders will be most successful when they are using their strengths in their ministry efforts. Be sure to place people by their strengths. This leads to success and satisfaction. A great resource for discovering and applying strengths is the book Strength Finders 2.0. Get this book for the people on your staff that you want to see move to the next level. After reading the book and taking the online assessment (comes with the book), help your adults identify how they can lead using their strength in their area of passion. What if a person’s passions don’t fit with your ministry needs? My advice is to still place them where they arc passionate and delegate the leadership and ownership of that aspect of the ministry to them. Why? Because that area of the ministry will grow like never before under their leadership and you can put your efforts in another area of ministry.

Warning: You can’t just develop leaders for the areas of ministry you don’t want to do. You have to develop leaders by discovering their passion and matching it to their strength. This will ensure the best leaders who will stay the longest and have the most success.

Developing great youth volunteers is never easy. It involves hard work, discipline, and effort. Remember, though, that your goal is not just another chaperone or volunteer. Your goal is a fully formed leader who is willing to take on the responsibility of developing and growing students. These leaders are worth all the effort.

From: web site. May 2008

The 7 Deadly Sins of Inviting Youth Volunteers
By Jonathan & Thomas McKee

Adult leaders are the lifeblood of every thriving youth ministry. Here’s a primer on the do’s and don’ts of snagging great volunteers.

Sin #1: Expect announcements to get volunteers. Most people don’t want to volunteer—they want to be asked. Don’t use volunteer as a verb—stop looking for someone “to volunteer.” That means they must contact you to serve. People hate doing that. So make volunteer a noun. Look for someone to commit (that’s the verb) as a volunteer (the noun). When you recruit, focus on personal invitations.

Sin #2: Go It Alone. Put together a special inviting task force that operates like a nominating committee. The key element is to brainstorm about people who could fit the roles you need.

Sin #3: Recruit Only Volunteers Who Make Long-Term Commitments. Just remember that short-term projects provide excellent “first dates”—they’re how you find your long-term volunteers. Short-term volunteers have the opportunity to catch your ministry’s vision as they work alongside a passionate leader.

Sin #4: Assume That “No” Means “Never”. Sometimes a “no” means that a prospect would rather do something other than the role you’ve described. Probe to find out what the person likes to do, then see if there’s a match for that in your (or someone else’s) ministry.

Sin #5: Recruit Any 01′ P.I.C. As leaders, it’s easy to get sucked into the P.I.C. syndrome—a “Person In the Chair.” We desperately need a volunteer, so we plead our case to anyone with a pulse. First determine what specific skills you need, then go and find the people with those skills who best meet your needs.

Sin #6: Ask Busy People to Do Busy Work. Of course, we do need some people to do busywork. But long-term volunteers like to be recruited for things that tap into their expertise, not for their B.I.C.

Sin #7: Remain Ignorant About Volunteer Leadership. If your training, education, and experience have not prepared you to be a volunteer manager, it’s time to get proactive about it (one way—pick up a copy of our book The New Breed at 20% off to Church Volunteer Central members).

This article is adapted from an article originally appearing in Group magazine, the world’s most-read youth ministry resource. The full text of this and hundreds of other articles are available free in the Idea Depot to members of Church Volunteer Central.

“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”