In preparing to launch dbministrycoach.com, I asked scores of youth leaders this question: “In what area of ministry do you struggle most?” The overwhelming response? “How do I build an effective volunteer team to minister to our students?”
While the answer to that question requires a longer conversation, here’s a principle that will help: The health of a youth group will be in direct proportion to the health of the volunteer team.
I remember attending a workshop early in ministry that focused on building a sense of community within the adult leadership core. The following principles stayed with me through the years:
Working with volunteers is more than just assigning and completing tasks. People don’t join a ministry just to do leadership tasks. They want to be cared for, they want to have friends, and they want to have fun too.
A leader must become a shepherd to the team (which is much more rewarding than simply doing signup sheets and completing tasks). Pour yourself into the lives of the people with whom you serve. Then, even if volunteers get tired of doing the task, they will not quit the team because the fellowship is just too good. When you meet, take time to minister to your team. If a volunteer leaves a meeting and they’ve done the task, but you don’t know if a team member’s mother just found out she has cancer, you have not ministered to your team.
Teams that are not run well will go through some of the finest people, and leaders will scratch their head and say, “I don’t understand what happened.” Your volunteer did the task, but there was no sense of family connectivity.
So remember that the most important thing you can do for your youth, is minister to your adult team. As the team goes, so goes the youth group! Your most important job is to create the right culture!
If you would like a longer conversation about your ministry, go to our web site and check out the Youth Ministry Assessment Tool. It takes 10 minutes. Ministry Coach will give you a call to share the results and listen to how we can use our experience to help you build a more effective youth ministry culture!