Monday, May 3, 2010

I Missed It. Thoughts On Volunteer Leaders

Last week I hosted a cookout at my house for juniors. The goal was pretty simple hang out, eat some delicious burgers, and talk for just a minute about what it means to be a senior in student ministry. We had a great turn out and a great time.

However, as I looked around the my back yard I noticed that something was missing. Some people who should have been there weren't. Among all the juniors who attended there were no volunteer leaders.

Our adult leaders are pretty vested in the lives of students. It's not their fault they weren't there it was mine.

You see, sometimes when things get hectic instead of pursuing the value of including volunteer leaders in all I do, I end up trying to do everything myself. It sounds backwards doesn't it? When we get busy we should reach out to others for help, but sometimes it seems including others requires extra time and energy.

To be honest I felt a little more Godly because I was the one who went to the grocery store to buy all the stuff we needed for the cookout. What a servant I was! In reality I'm the last person who should be doing stuff like that. I'm famous for leaving out key details like buying all the ingredients for hot dogs and forgetting the hot dogs.

When thinking through including adults here's some things to think about.

* Plan Ahead
Our leaders are busy and will only be able to participate when given advanced notice. "Fly by the seat of your pants" ministry doesn't work when including leaders.

* Include them in the planning
Don't be a one man or woman show. Believe it not some of them are more gifted than you in the planning process. Let them lead, ministries who provide space for others to lead draws leaders.

* Know their gifts
If you know how they're gifted you'll be more effective in helping them find their ministry "sweet spot".

* Show them copious amounts of gratitude.
This goes without saying. Don't take your leaders for granted.

Ok, the cookout was successful but if relationship is a high value it means including adult leaders in the process and unleashing them to pursue and deepen relationship with students. When I do everything myself I rob them of their potential to utilize their God given gifts. Not to mention that gatherings aren't all they could be when I limit what we do to my own creativity.

Ministry is always deeper, more fun and more effective when done in the context of team. Take the time and energy to include others. Didn't God design us to do life and ministry together?


  1. As a volunteer, let me say AMEN & THANK YOU!

    And yes, when you're busy, please ask us for help it's why we volunteer!

  2. thanks mindi, any other advice for those of us who need it? i would love to get a volunteer's perspective

  3. Great confession. I shared it with the youth volunteers, I care for (as a volunteer) at our church. love your heart, bro.

  4. Ahhh,, one oversight is not a failure. IMHO you are master of managing, equipping and engaging volunteer youth leaders.