Shopping for Youth Ministry Help
by Kurt Johnston
In my conversations with youth workers, a common theme eventually emerges: How do we find more of the right kind of volunteers? Keep these two hints in mind as you “shop” for help in your youth ministry.
1. Know what you want.
Although no two people are alike, and variety is one of God’s gifts to mankind, you still need some criteria. Our ministry has seven characteristics we look for in a potential volunteer: (1) Spiritual maturity, (2) “sower mentality” (understands that we don’t often see immediate results), (3) fun, (4) contagious (something about this person should be attractive to young people), (5) patient, (6) affirming, and (7) likes junior and senior highers!
Your list may look different, but the point is this: Do you know what you’re looking for?
2. Avoid acting on impulse.
Because most youth ministries are desperate for help, we often act out of impulse, latching onto the first able-bodied churchgoer we can find.
To avoid the temptation, set up a system that moves interested people through the following steps: (1) Attend a meeting for potential volunteers, (2) observe the program in action (while you observe them), (3) complete an application packet, with references and background check, (4) interview with the ministry’s “point person,” and (5) begin ministry.
Such a system allows you to recruit potential volunteers out of impulse but not to place them until they’ve gone through the proper channels. It’s easier to work hard on the front end to get the right volunteers than it is to work hard on the tail end to remove the wrong ones.