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Taking Care of Your Volunteers

Taking Care of Your Volunteers

Volunteers. What a treasure they are. They pour into students day in and day out. My daughter is part of a small group with some incredible leaders who show up every Sunday to teach them God’s Word, attend their sporting events, and even coach their church-league basketball team! Their investment in their lives is priceless. The girls in the group will likely be lifelong lovers of Jesus because of the investment of these adult volunteer leaders.

While these faithful volunteers spend so much time pouring into the girls, who’s speaking into their lives? Most of the time, your volunteers give up their adult small groups to help serve in one for students.

Questions to Consider

  • How are they cared for?
  • How is their walk with the Lord challenged?
  • What happens when a volunteer gets sick, has surgery, or has a baby? How can the student ministry team help support that volunteer?
  • Do your volunteers feel equipped? They typically don’t have seminary training, but we ask them to teach God’s word. I’m sure sometimes they have questions that they don’t have the answer to.
  • Do your volunteers feel valued? Do they take ownership of the ministry?
  • How can you help your volunteers stay out of burnout?


One way our church has helped build the buy-in of our volunteers is by having them start with a 6th-grade group, and they stay with that group until they graduate. Some leaders come and go, but for the most part, those volunteers stick around for the 7-year commitment. After their term ends, they are encouraged to start another group or move on to a different ministry.

Depending on the size of your group, it will be helpful to have more than one leader volunteer per group. Stress is relieved when they know they can take a Sunday off. It also makes it fun when the leaders connect. When leaders become friends, it helps everyone involved.


Communication is the key to most things in life; this includes having great volunteers who stay around. When people feel like they are missing information or are in the dark, they question whether they are valued.

Below are several easy ways you can help communicate with your volunteers:

Our church uses resources like GroupMe to get out information to our volunteers. I can count on a GroupMe message every Sunday morning that details important information and dates for upcoming events.

Another crucial way to communicate with your volunteers is by giving them access to the curriculum, documents, and other pertinent information. Our church hosts that content on a website designed for our student volunteers.

Another way to increase communication is to have a volunteer coach to help check in with your volunteers. This past year, my group of girls graduated. Instead of starting a new group, I started a new role as a coach. It’s my job to help, support, and encourage the other volunteers.


If you don’t have a vision, your student ministry will perish. That’s not quite how Proverbs 29:18 goes, but the idea stands. It’s time to prayerfully make some goals and cast a vision for the student ministry. Ideally, the student ministry mission and vision would align right alongside the mission and vision of the church.

It’s empowering to join a team on a mission to reach students, but when there isn’t a vision or goal, it’s easy to bow out or serve in another ministry.

Be Present

I’ve noticed that people start losing momentum when the leader isn’t present. You will probably be running in several different directions on Sundays and Wednesdays. You may need to delegate to others so that you can be visible. There is a ministry of presence that is more important than you may realize.


During our student ministry leader meetings, the team will celebrate the wins happening in the ministry. The team has also intentionally asked the students for quotes about their small group leaders. They will play these quotes on the screens as we are meeting. It’s a meaningful way to celebrate the leaders by showing them how much they are loved and valued.


Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:

  • What do you pray that God will do in your ministry in the next year? Set some goals for the year and the upcoming five years!
  • How can you help support your volunteers and set them up for success?


Help your students and the adults in your church make a difference in the lives of others with Volunteer Accelerator: Youth Ministry Edition!

Ready for more articles and training? Check out these top posts!

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