The 7 Deadly Sins of Inviting Youth Volunteers

The 7 Deadly Sins of Inviting Youth Volunteers
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 Ol’ 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).

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.

The above article, “The 7 Deadly Sins of Inviting Youth Volunteers” was written by Jonathan & Thomas McKee. The article was excerpted from Group Magazine.

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.

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.”