Finding Volunteers for Youth Ministry

Finding Volunteers for Youth Ministry
Darren Sutton

Finding volunteers for the student ministry can sometimes feel like that dreaded moment at the McDonald’s drive-through when you realize you’re 26 cents short. You launch a frantic search for the change you know you’ve dropped in the mini-van somewhere, but in the midst of all the empty water bottles, stray receipts, and wrappers from the last visit to the Golden Arches, you can’t find what you need when you need it! The good news is: Unlike the elusive change, volunteers are in plain sight!

1. Volunteer to drive for the next senior adult trip. You become more of a “grown-up” in their sight (as long as you don’t pass gas in the van) and you gain insight into what they may have to offer God through the youth ministry (everything from making sandwiches for the next youth outing to prayer intercession for a kid in need to small group leader for those girls who have been waiting patiently.)

2. Ask every student for the names of three adults in the church they would love to see helping in the youth ministry. Sometimes the kids will miss the mark on their suggestions. But more often than not, they’re right on the money…and they usually think of people you never think of. And, hey, you have automatic guilt-factor built right in with “the kids suggested you as a leader—they want what you can bring to the table.”

3. Ask your other volunteers for suggestions. Chances are that have relationships with people outside the student ministry…and influence. You may not even have to make the ask yourself– sold-out, passionate volunteers can be the greatest enlistment tools you have!

4. Offer an ‘inside look’ at the youth ministry. Make it a big deal and offer good food! Know how to succinctly, coherently, and passionately communicate why the student ministry matters and how they can be part of it. Schedule follow-up for every person who attends (and plan for this time before you even put the event on the calendar – it can be more important than the event itself!!)

When was the last time you attended a Bible study of your peers? Sometimes we can’t find volunteers because we never leave the student center. Attending a Bible study for your own peer group refreshes you spiritually AND helps you hear the heart of grown-ups who might just have something to offer teenagers or their families. Hey, and if all else fails – steal from the Sunday school ministry. Those volunteers are just waiting for an excuse to bail on that area, right?

Darren is a veteran youth pastor in Corpus Christi, TX, and co-hosts a weekly podcast for parents of teenagers ( with his wife, Katie.

This article “Finding Volunteers for Youth Ministry” by Darren Sutton.

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