Tag Archive | Volunteer

Developing a Strong Volunteer Men’s Team

Developing A Strong Volunteer Men’s Team
By Doug Franklin

We often measure the size and impact of our youth programs by counting the number of students that come each week. But have you ever thought of your ministry in terms of capacity for developing transformational students? It’s easy to talk about how many students are coming; after all it’s what most sr. pastors want to know. However, we didn’t get into student ministry to count numbers. We want to see students lives changed. So how do you determine the capacity of your ministry? The best way to calculate your capacity is to count how many adults in your ministry are in mentoring relationships with students. I am not just talking about students in small groups; I referring to the number of you have developing spiritual relationships with students.

When I interact with most youth groups, I notice that many of the adult volunteers are there to help the youth pastor not to build spiritual relationship with students. My guess is most youth groups have only a few adults focused on mentoring relationships. Often adults are afraid of students. They don’t understand students and they don’t think students will like them. So they work in the shadows “helping the youth pastor” while the youth pastor talks with the students. The problem is the capacity of most youth pastors is about five spiritual relationships. The youth pastor needs other adults to develop spiritual relationships with students; so how to do develop a strong volunteer team?

LeaderTreks uses a five step process for developing transformational adult volunteers.

Step one: Recruiting the right people

If you blow a dog whistle you know that only dogs hear the call. The same is true when we call for people who will want to be heart to heart with students so we need to learn how to attract the right volunteers. So often we feel like we are intruding in someone’s life if we ask them to mentor a student why? This may be the greatest calling in a person’s life; especially if God wired them for deep spiritual mentoring.

It is important to avoid giving volunteers the perception that the youth ministry is in trouble and desperately needs their help. Who wants to help a ministry that is failing? People who are natural leaders want to be part of a team that is successful. Offer a positive view of the ministry and talk about how students are moving to the next level. Make it clear that people with the special gift of mentoring are needed to help students develop strong relationships with Jesus. This approach keeps people from feeling guilty or that they are helping you and not students. Keep the focus on students. Be sure that the volunteers understand their role is to help students develop spiritually. Tell them how you�re going to training and supporting them through the journey. Invite those that are interested to an orientation meeting.

Step two: Vision casting – Orientation

The orientation meeting is so important, however most youth worker miss this step. This meeting allows you to share the vision for the youth ministry. Volunteers learn that you’re not just inviting them to work with students, you’re asking them to join your vision. This is very important because lots of adults want to work with students but they want to be in charge and focus on what they want to do. Great volunteers buy into the mission as much as they buy into students. At LeaderTreks, we don’t interview anyone until we ask them if they are willing to join our mission, share our values and work under the LeaderTreks leadership. We value our team culture. We need to insure that everyone who joins the team shares the same values; and you need to as well.

When planning this meeting make sure to include your expectations of adult volunteers. Most youth pastors share their calendar so adult know when to be there. This is not enough. You need to explain your expectation for mentoring relationships between the adults and students. Explain what training and resources you will give them. Remind them of the difference it will make it the lives of students and in the kingdom of God. This orientation has to be clear and specific. This is the most important meeting you will have with your adults. Ask for the world. I would often tell my volunteers that it will cost more than you want to spend, take more time then you have and be the greatest experience of your life.

Step three: Training

Training is hard. It takes time most people don’t have but don’t neglect this step. At least once a month plan a great training even if you have to take a week of youth group off. Take what we do at my church now (I am not the youth pastor) as an example. The first week of every month we cancel youth group and have an adult training in its place. By doing it this way we don’t add another event to an already busy schedule for adult volunteers. Remember, at the end of the day it is the adult volunteers that will really determine the effectiveness of your youth ministry.

Training should not be simply a discussion of the calendar. It is important to go over the calendar but don’t spend more than five minutes on it. Devote your time instead to discussing how to build relationships with students, how to be a transformational teacher and tips for mentoring. These resources will make the difference for your volunteers. Remember you have recruited people who have a heart for students so now you need to equip them with the skills they need to be successful.

Step four: Supporting

As a leader it is essential to encourage the people God has placed in our ministries. They are His people, His servants; called by God to do a great work. You are in charge of making sure they don’t lose heart and lack encouragement. You need to confront them when they are off track, speak words of truth into their lives and be a leader worth following. Remember when you find the right people and they are connected to the ministry, they are going to be alive in Christ in a way that they have never thought possible. You will have the greatest team on your hands. Remember to treat them to notes of encouragement, acts of kindness and love. If you can afford it, buy them gift cards. If not watch their kids, say specific encouragement and do acts of kindness for them. Treat them with value and love.

Step five: Evaluating

It is easy to forget to evaluate the job our adult volunteers are doing. I don’t mean check up on them to find the things they are doing wrong. Instead, find ways to help them to improve and give them encouraging feedback. Many youth workers have never seen their adult volunteers leading a small group or interacting with students. You need to evaluate them in order to show them you care and to help them grow as leaders and mentors of students. This reinforces your vision and unites the staff in a purpose bigger than themselves. When they realize that they are not alone doing the ministry they will be encouraged.

When your volunteers see that you have a process for helping them and understand that you want them to be successful doing what God called them to do, they are going to be energized. Developing your core volunteer staff needs to be one of your highest priorities. By spending your time and energy developing this essential group of individuals, the capacity of your ministry will continue to grow.

This article “Developing A Strong Volunteer Men’s Team” written by Doug Franklin is excerpted from http://www.leadertreks.com.

Posted in AIS File Library, MM - Men's Ministry0 Comments

Building a Supportive Volunteer Team

Building a Supportive Volunteer Team
by Janice Long

Does your youth group volunteer team resemble a family? Do they enjoy each other, encourage, and support one another (as well as the youth)? Is there good leadership, communication, and time spent together outside of “volunteer work”? If not, don’t give up. Building a youth team that resembles a family takes time, planning, and prayer. Take a look at the following ministries and the ingredients that set their teams apart.

Hope Church, San Diego, California

* Philosophy on youth volunteers in ministry: “To develop staff, I look at it as building many youth pastors under me,” says Todd Hitchcock, director of student ministries. He looks at himself as a leader of leaders.

* What’s unique: Todd’s youth volunteers initiate things themselves. They understand the youth ministry vision—that their role is to build relationships with youth.

* What keeps volunteers committed: “I give to them as I want them to give to the kids in the group,” Todd says. He consistently affirms and encourages his volunteers, puts their names in the church bulletin whenever he can, and gives them hugs and high-fives. Also, seeing the lives of kids changed is a big motivating factor for his volunteers.

* Responsibilities volunteers handle: Their responsibilities depend on their gifts, Todd explains. It’s important to have them in areas where they desire to be. For example, teaching or games coordinator.

* Team building: They go on retreats to look at their different personality types and spiritual gifts. Todd says this helps their team understand each other better. His team also gets together to pray about “non-ministry stuff”—spurring further communication within the group.

First Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico

* Philosophy on volunteers in ministry: “If you’re investing in adults, you’re investing in kids,” says Jon Brooks, pastor of students. “If you have a healthy youth worker, you have a healthy youth group,” Jon says. He says it’s his job to surround kids with significant adults.

* What’s unique: Longevity is a key to the uniqueness of Jon’s volunteer team. And Jon believes longevity translates to effectiveness—providing security and stability to the group. Jon also feels his volunteers have a clear vision of what they’re doing—that their top priority is the kids. “That vision has to be

* What keeps volunteers committed: “They’re committed because they understand this is where God wants them to be,” says Jon. And he reminds them of that. Jon includes volunteers in the vision for the ministry by asking them, “What’s your goal for this group of kids?”

* Responsibilities volunteers handle: Often the church forces volunteers to wear too many hats, and they can’t wear them all well, says Jon. So he’s implemented a ministry-team approach. Jon finds out where each volunteer’s gifts and desires are, then plugs them into one of five different positions on a ministry team. Each ministry team ministers to a different age group. Positions include activities leader, outreach leader, in-reach leader (caregiver), teacher, or administrator. This approach adds variety, balance, and stability to the ministry.

* Team building: Jon sends out weekly correspondence to his team to share the youth ministry vision and to keep volunteers in touch. Jon looks at this as his personal ministry.

New Life Church, Goodlettsville, Tennessee

* Philosophy on volunteers in ministry: “They are as called to do what they’re doing as I am. They’re equally as gifted,” says Ken Allman, minister of music and youth. Ken feels he can’t hold tightly to the kids and his ministry if it’s going to be effective.

* What’s unique: “I don’t know of a group like them,” says Ken about his volunteer team. Ken’s volunteers show a commitment to one another and what they’re doing by praying for one another and supporting one another. Throughout the year they also meet quarterly for a special fellowship. They’re committed to kids both inside and outside of church. They have a prayer ministry to pray regularly for the kids they work with.

* What keeps them committed: Their personal and dynamic walk with God is what keeps them committed, Ken says. He firmly believes his volunteers are called to do what they’re doing in ministry. They’re also gifted in different areas-showing a broad range of personalities, style, age, and gender. This diversity in his team allows kids to find unique people whom they can share with.

* Responsibilities volunteers handle: Ken’s volunteers plan all group fellowships and monthly events for each age group. They help Ken and the parents come up with a two-year ministry plan. They go to kids’ games and events, and they all act as models and mirrors for the kids.

* Team building: Ken goes on two retreats a year with his volunteers for education, fellowship, sharing dreams and desires, and planning.

Posted in AIS File Library, YMGE - Youth Ministry0 Comments

5 Assumptions That Could Destroy Your Volunteer Youth Program

5 Assumptions That Could Destroy Your Volunteer Youth Program
Aaron Crumbey

How well do you know your volunteers?

One thing I can freely assume about volunteers is that they want to help. Other than that, I should be careful about anything else I assume.

I’ve been working with volunteers for a while and can say I’ve probably had more failures than successes. But those failures have helped me become better at leading volunteers. So I’m writing from my failures in mind here and hoping it helps.

Making assumptions is one of the worst things I’ve done concerning volunteers. So I thought I’d share a few of my lessons learned:

1. Never assume they understand the cause as much as you do. You must articulate the cause and your heart and passion for it. Remember they just want to help, and not everyone helping in youth ministry is called to it. So share, and help them understand the impact of what your ministry does.

2. Never assume they are going to take the initiative. Take the time beforehand and map out what it is you need them to do. When I say “map out,” I mean be very detailed in your instructions because they will only do what is expressed. For example, once I had volunteers and gave them the instructions to clean up. Well, they did not do a good job and actually left boxes and trash out because they didn’t know where to put it. You see, I assumed they would clean the way I wanted them to clean. I also assumed they would break the boxes down and take out all of the trash. I was clear on the “what” but not on the “how,” so they cleaned the way they wanted to.

3. Never assume they are self-motivating. Volunteers need you to be a cheerleader for them as they care for students at either an event, small group or the weekend service. Be intentional about pointing out some small wins to them as well as big wins. Let them know the effect it has on the ministry. Thank them for allowing God to use their gifts and talents.

4. Never assume they are going to know what to do next. Idle time to a volunteer is like water to oil. Idle time, if not communicated beforehand, can mean an unorganized ministry to a volunteer. They automatically think, “Didn’t they know we were coming?” Also, if not communicated, you can become frustrated thinking no one’s doing anything, when actually it could be they just don’t know what to do next.

5. Never assume they want to do more than communicated. Until your volunteers buy into the purpose of the ministry, assuming they want to go the extra mile could ensure they never return.

For me, these assumptions would happen unintentionally. I would find myself playing catch up and having to stay to clean and redo some of the work I had asked volunteers to do. I had to really evaluate the assumptions I was making and how, because of those assumptions, I was not being a great steward of my volunteers’ time.

This is something to think about as you deal with volunteers this week. I know there is more than just five assumptions we can have, and I know I’m not the only one who has them (or maybe I am—ha!), so what are some assumptions you’ve made about volunteers that weren’t so smart?

Aaron Crumbey oversees pastoral care for the high school ministry at Saddleback Church. He cares deeply about sharing Christ with students and seeing them reach their full potential in Christ. He’s married with three children, loves family time, sports, movies and all things musical among some other things. He also runs www.yoacblog.com.

The above article, “5 Assumptions That Could Destroy Your Volunteer Youth Program” is written by Aaron Crumbey. The article was excerpted from www.morethandodgeball.com web site. November 2013.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

Posted in AIS File Library, YMGE - Youth Ministry0 Comments


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