It’s no secret that one of the keys to a healthy student ministry is a healthy volunteer team.

As a youth worker, one of the best investments you can make in your ministry is an investment in your volunteers. Whether your group consists of two, twenty, or fifty volunteers – here are eight ways to intentionally pour into your volunteers.

Be a Student

What are some things nearly all good students have in common? They pay attention: listening well and writing down what’s important. Being a student of your volunteers means the same thing. When they talk, listen well – and maybe even take notes.

If I find out the volunteer loves Chipotle, I’ll make a note of it. Guess where I’ll offer to meet them for lunch next time we sync up?

Being a student means paying attention to your volunteer staff, and communicates that they are being heard by you.

Honor Their Time

If you want volunteers to give you their time, then you need to honor theirs. Get your calendars disseminated to your volunteer team as far in advance as possible. When you meet together, make sure you start and end on time. Honoring their time well communicates that you value the time they give to ministry!

If you want volunteers to give you their time, then you need to honor theirs. Click To Tweet

Provide Space for Community

Student Ministry volunteers sign up to love students, but there can only be so many fart jokes before adults need to re-engage in an actual human conversation. Giving your volunteers time to connect and do life with each other over a meal, round of mini-golf, etc communicates that they belong!

Hold High Expectations

Volunteers will rise to the expectations that you have for them. If you expect them to show up, sit in the back, and just be a warm body; they will do just that.

If you expect ownership, making things better, and engaging students well, your volunteers will rise to the occasion. Holding high expectations communicates that students are worth going the extra mile for.

Send Them Out Two by Two

There’s a reason Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs instead of alone. As His followers, let’s follow His example! Putting similar-role volunteers together in pairs gives them an opportunity to work through obstacles together, play off the others’ strengths, encourage and support each other, and work together toward the common goal. Sending them in pairs communicates that they are not alone in ministry.

Be Available

Your volunteers are the ones helping you carry the glorious weight of student ministry. As their leader, part of your job is to remain available to them for questions, feedback, help with moving, babysitting, and whatever else it might take to love them well. I’m not saying you should be the primary babysitter for a volunteer’s kids, but I’ll guarantee you that you helping out once or twice will go a long way.

Being available communicates that your volunteers are worth your time because of who they are, not what they do for your ministry.

Look for What is Going Right

Find things that your volunteers are doing right, and call them out on it. This not only builds up and encourages the individual, but also provides the rest of the team with a clearer look at what you expect of them and gives them something to aim for. Looking for what’s going right communicates that you notice volunteers’ efforts.

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About The Author

Josh is the student ministry pastor at First Christian Church in Santa Maria, California. He has worked in youth ministry for seven years and has a passion for equipping the next generation of kingdom leaders. Follow him on Twitter @joshschack.

  • paulwturner

    Great reminders!