We all want long-term, invested volunteer leaders in our ministries. We want to build a connected and cohesive team, willing to follow us. 

I have people ask me all the time how I get to a point where I actually have a waiting list of folks who are willing to be a part of my volunteer teams. There are various things that play into this blessing and there is no “silver bullet”. I have, however, found a few things that have helped in my youth ministries.

First and foremost: it’s important to have a clear and concise vision for what your ministry is about and where a volunteer will fit in. It is essential for busy people to have a clear understanding of your expectations for serving on a ministry team. The most important thing is, I believe, deep levels of connection to you as a leader and others as a team.

It is essential for volunteers to have a clear understanding of your expectations for serving on a… Click To Tweet

Level 1: Respect 

You are the leader. Whether you are paid or unpaid, you have been given the task to lead the ministry. Your role comes with some immediate level of respect. It is not earned, but it must be kept.

Maintaining and keeping respect is a basic level of good leadership.

Volunteers want to be respected, desire to be a part of something that is respected but they also want to have a leader that they can respect. At this level it is mostly one-sided, with a leader leading and volunteers following out of basic respect for the position. It is where most ministry volunteer teams stay and why most volunteers do not stay very long.

Level 2: Rapport

Moving your team beyond respect is done by develop rapport. Growing rapport comes through mutual understanding and open two-way communication that gives volunteers a feeling of ownership and value. Meals together. Training together. Face-to-face conversations. Allowing space to critique and have a say in the ministry directions. All those things are vital for building rapport.

Level 3: Relationship

A team levels up when they come together not just out of respect or mutual rapport, but when they begin to have relationships with each other.

A team that has relationships with each other will model community for their students. We spend much of our time investing into students. It is just as important for the leader to build relationships with their volunteers and create opportunities for them to build relationship with each other. Relationship is the bonding agent that will grow a ministry team team together and on to the next level  of ministry, longevity, and effectiveness.

 

 

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About The Author

DAN ISTVANIK is a 22 year youth ministry veteran currently as the 5th-8th grade pastor at Victory Church in Lancaster, PA. He has served in churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington DC. He is the lead writer for Parent Ministry.Com and a regular contributor to other great ministry resources. He has been married for over 16 years to his partner in ministry, Melissa. Together they have two children. Jenna and Kaleb.

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