This is Part 2 of a series by Lee Wilson on recruiting a great ministry leadership team. You can read Part 1 here.
In the movie, The Help, one of the main characters, Skeeter decides to write a book from the perspective of the African-American maids in her community. In order to do this, she would need the real life stories of the help themselves to complete the book. As Skeeter sat at Aibileen’s kitchen table interviewing for her book, Minny, one of the maids who had resisted being a part of the book at first, decided to join the cause under one condition: that if they were going to do this, they had to be fully dedicated to it no matter what. It had to be all or nothing.
Dedication is important in whatever you do, but it is critical when you are recruiting new volunteers to help fulfill the vision of your youth program. The key to keeping volunteers involved and engaged has much to do with how effective your application process is and how well you communicate your expectations of them.
It is very important that when you are recruiting the help for your program, you don’t just look to fill holes with anyone who says they are willing to serve. You have to make sure the people you bring in will provide a safe, secure and loving environment for the teenagers in your program. To ensure that you are selecting the right volunteers, you must implement a thorough application, screening and interview process that all leaders over the age of 18 must complete before they can get involved. All leaders, regardless of where they serve, should be willing to comply with the ministry guidelines and responsibilities that are attached to their job description. Communicating what is expected of them will help them to serve the vision of your program with excellence.
As you begin to plan this process, ask yourself this question. What do I require from my team? When you bring on a new leader to serve in your youth program, make sure that they are first in line with your mission. At our youth ministry, Velocity, our mission is plain and simple: change lives, connect people together, and influence culture through the development of personal vision. Without a clear understanding of your mission, your volunteers will fail to properly execute your mission. With a clear understanding of your missions, they will execute your programming in a way that will impact the lives of your youth.
When you are confident that your mission properly motivates your new volunteers, clearly explain your programming to them. Each program of your ministry should have a clearly defined purpose that you can communicate to your volunteers so that they can in turn communicate that to others
For example, here are some descriptions of programming that we offer in Velocity:
Twelve Student Ministry
(12) Student Leadership meetings are designed specifically for the students who are willing to become 21st century leaders, and for those who wish to be an example in their home, community, school, church and world. Leadership is about one thing: influence, and (12) Twelve will help students grow in it. (12)Twelve Leadership meetings take place every six weeks on a Wednesday night. This meeting will still consist of leadership training for the students enrolled in (12) Twelve. It is mandatory for (12) Twelve Students to attend these meetings, as well as V-Groups and the main service on Friday and Sunday.
Velocity University is the student discipleship program. It is designed to give students the basic spiritual foundations of what being a Christian is all about. It will prepare them to develop a lifestyle of spiritual habits that will last far beyond their years in Velocity. Velocity University is now held in three sessions throughout the year on Sunday mornings during 1st service. Classes are overseen by the assigned teachers and administrators.
The purpose of our small groups is simple. It is a chance for students to get with other teenagers around the same age and grade to study God’s word, and to discuss current issues that affect their world and their culture. Anyone can come to the small groups at any time. V-Groups take place every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month.
Leading youth into the presence of God through worship has always been a cornerstone in the vision of Velocity. Through the incorporation of worship, teenagers learn how to develop a closer and more personal relationship with the Lord. The inclusion of the acoustic element of worship as well as the contemporary methods of worship, add to the intimacy and impact of the service environment. Utilizing technological elements, such as music videos, digital lyrics, instruments and sound, and partnering them with the natural gifts and talents of our worship team, has enhanced the worship experience amongst the Velocity youth. They have the opportunity to enter into worship that appeals to their culture and still embrace the principles of true worship that seeks intimacy with God.
VIP (Velocity in Prayer)
Velocity Student Ministries believes in the power of prayer and in the influence it can have in directing the lives of teenagers towards a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. This program is known as VIP, Velocity in Prayer. The Velocity Sanctuary is open every Friday from 6:45 – 7:00 pm for students to come and enter into intercessory prayer for their families, friends, schools, Velocity Student Ministries, V-Groups, city and nation. It is important for every teenager to experience the power of praying for others and VIP offers the opportunity for that experience.
Just like our students, Velocity is dedicated to the creative use of technology. Through interactive media, video and audio, we seek each week to provide a memorable environment out of which the word of God can go forth to change, connect and influence this generation.
Food and fellowship has always been the perfect pair. At the Velocity Café, we provide an environment where teenagers can come to hang out, fellowship and snack on good food. It offers a wide selection of snacks, beverages and baked goods. But mostly it is about the atmosphere it lends to Velocity – there is always a place to just sit, relax, be with friends and enjoy yourself.
Parent Life events are designed as seminars in order to inform and work with parents on understanding the dynamics of the modern teenager. In each seminar, we select topics and design workshops to work with parents and instruct them on principles and practices of this postmodern culture.
The Senior Life Transition Program
It is the purpose of Next to offer opportunities for seniors graduating from high school to receive training and teaching in order to properly prepare them for the transition into the college or career environment. Many seniors face, upon entering their future endeavors, huge decisions that call for wisdom and preparation in advance. The Next program walks hand in hand with each senior as they face this challenging and exciting time in their lives, and help them to enter their dreams and goals armed with the truth of God’s word and some practical tools for life.
On any given week, your youth program can attract a wide array of teenagers from all walks of life. When you have the right people in place, and those people are fully dedicated to the purpose of your ministry, you can rest assured you will impact the lives of your teens for God. And like Minny in The Help, when she received her compensation for her portion of the book at the end, the work will be well worth the rewards.