click to chat
FREE SHIPPING! All Orders $99+ Details.

the blog

Upping Your Investment In Your Youth Ministry Volunteers


I’ve realized in my ministry, the most important people I serve are my volunteers. It’s because of them that our ministry can reach students with lots of different interests and personalities. 

When I first started out in ministry I had about 12 leaders. It was easy to get to know them.  We would go out for coffee or a bite to eat.  I had plenty of time (I wasn’t married). And there weren’t a lot of them.  Unfortunately a lot has changed in eight years.  Now with dozens of volunteers, a family and so much more to do, I know I have to be intentional and creative when it comes to investing in my team.  

Regardless of whether you have one volunteer or 100, the idea of investing in your team can be overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. Like any task, investing in your volunteers starts with a commitment to start, and grows by a commitment to build on what you’ve started. This building is what I call “upping” your investment. This is the goal: to grow your investment in your volunteers in order that they have ownership in your ministry, and so that they are effectively leading students in spiritual growth. 

So what does this investment look like? In order to “up” your investment and serve your leaders effectively remember to:

Do For One What You Can’t For All 

You might feel like you have to treat everyone equally. However, that’s impossible.  Some might use that as a reason not to invest in their leaders. But then how do you show them you care? God is going to give you opportunities to invest, in significant ways, towards individuals. When you give to all it can come off obligatory. When you have to choose one or two, it becomes intentional.

Put In Sweat Equity

It’s easy to buy a gift for someone, but there will be situations when you need to take the time and energy to do something personal. Showing your volunteers that you are willing to sacrifice and energy for them will go a long way. It shows them that you appreciate the sacrifice of time and energy they show you.

Challenge Them To Invest In Others

Give your key volunteers gift cards or cash to use on people around them.  This does two things:

1.Gives them leadership responsibility.

2.Gives them authority to identify future leaders.

Even as a leader you are still limited in identifying potential in everyone in your ministry. In fact one of the best ways to build your volunteer base and leadership core is to have the existing team members extend the invitation. Just empower them with a piece of your investment.

If you invest correctly in your team you’ll see the benefits multiply.  It takes a little creative thinking and energy to make it personal, special and most important intentional.

How do you invest in your team?

(Originally published in 2013)

About the Author

Christopher Wesley

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. With over 9 years of youth ministry experience you can read more about his journey on his blog at

join the conversation

Please Note: we moderate all of our comments before they are published to ensure readers the best possible experience.


Great post, Chris. One of the biggest blessings this past year has also been a struggle: there are enough people on our team that I can't invest in everyone like I could when I was at a smaller church. Great ideas, I love the last one!
by: Benjer McVeigh January 17, 2013 10:53 am
Benjer, I couldn't agree it's a mixed blessing, that's why we always have to look at investing in the few that will help us reach the many.
by: Chris Wesley January 18, 2013 12:01 pm
One thing I have done is created two volunteer teams - one is a core team that trains more, invests more, and volunteers more with our youth ministry. These are the folks who are willing to go the extra mile. I have another volunteer team for the volunteers who help sometimes but don't want a huge role. They still get training and are asked to do stuff, just not nearly as much. Good post Chris.
by: Tom Shriver January 17, 2013 1:55 pm
Tom, it's smart to break up levels of responsibility and key to identify the leaders. Invest in your leaders first and they'll carry the burden with you. Keep pouring into them.
by: Chris Wesley January 17, 2013 4:48 pm
The most important thing I have done was spend time with them individually to understand what they are gifted in. My goal for them is to release them to do what they do best. I know that they each reach students I can't and I want to do all I can to give them the tools needed for that. These leaders are so important because continuity matters in youth ministry.
by: Derek Mansker January 17, 2013 8:20 pm
Derek, That's awesome you can spend time with each individually to understand their gifts. The problem is when we have too many minister volunteers to spend the time one on one with them That's when you get to the point of investing leaders who will serve your other leaders for you.
by: Chris Wesley January 18, 2013 12:04 pm