by John Park, UYWI
No matter what, it’s hard to do youth ministry on your own. There’s a lot you can do but at some point you either realize you need to get some help in the form of volunteers or you end up burning out from all the demands you find yourself under.
Really the work involved means you need to build a team that ‘gets it’ and has a heart to minister to urban youth to point them to life changing gospel of Jesus Christ. But how do you recruit and find the right volunteers? Here are a few items to help you with recruiting volunteers to serve in youth ministry.
Invite. Rarely do you find people that are ready to jump into youth ministry. It helps to start with a personal invite to potential volunteers to see what God is doing in the youth ministry and give them a chance to see how they can be involved. So invite people to visit your youth ministry meetings.
Know who you are looking for. Many times we are so desperate for help we’ll take anyone if they offer, but knowing what you are looking for, can help you immensely. Do you need help with rides, worship or small groups? If you know what you need help in then you can share a tangible need with people if they offer to help.
Follow up. After a first visit follow up with the person and see what the experience was like for them. It may not be after a first visit they are ready to commit, encourage them to pray and ask if they would like to come back for another visit again. If you want this person to serve you are asking them to invest their time, energy and life into young people. You want them to take it as seriously as you are.
Work together. If someone decides to volunteer then work together with them to outline what that commitment looks like. Too often youth pastors are overwhelmed and leave things undefined for volunteers to figure things out. Take time to discuss what level of commitment this new volunteer can be a part of and what that will look like. It gives each person boundaries and goals to flourish in serving.
Have Fun. Sure you are now serving in the trenches of youth work together but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Make the work of reaching youth fun, meaningful and Christ centered. If you aren’t having fun, it’s very likely no one else is.
Pray, Pray and Pray Some More. I can’t emphasize this enough, you can build a dream team and still lose. If our youth ministries are just great teams without being solidly rooted in prayer, much of our work can be in vain. A ministry team of youth pastors and volunteers rooted in prayer give space for the Holy Spirit to guide the direction of the youth ministry and keeps us dependent on God. If you want the right volunteers, pray for them, if you want a great team, pray for them, if you want God to move, pray for it. A youth worker that prays for God to lead the right people to serve and work with youth is one I trust to be looking for the right people to do the job.