The Importance of Investing In Your Volunteers
First and foremost, we should ensure that our volunteers know how much they are loved, needed, and appreciated. This can be accomplished in numerous ways and should be something that occurs consistently throughout the year. For many adults, a simple text or phone call to express your appreciation goes a long way. We also need to be sure to have our students express their appreciation to our volunteers as well. Simple gestures of kindness mean so much in this crazy world we’re living in.
Next, we can shower our volunteers with gifts of appreciation. It can be a student ministry shirt (which is an awesome way to promote your ministry!), a gift card, a book, or anything that shows our volunteers that we really do care. I have found that taking my volunteers to dinner three or four times a year proves beneficial. Normally at two of these dinners, my wife and I give our volunteers some sort of gift, as mentioned above. This is not necessary per se, but it boosts their confidence that you appreciate their volunteer work in your ministry.
As important as it is to show our appreciation, I think we are doing ourselves, our students, and our volunteers a disservice if we do not pour into their spiritual lives as well! I know, I know. Our lives are hectic. Schedules are packed with preparing for Wednesday nights, Sunday mornings and Sunday nights, going to ball games and competitions, and trying to ensure our families are taken care of and loved, all while trying to ensure we are growing closer to Christ. We are busy people. But so are our volunteers. We have to invest in their spiritual lives if we want them to be able to invest in the spiritual lives of our students!
Ways to Invest in the Spiritual Lives of Our Volunteers
There are plenty of ways we can do this. I think the starting point has to be committing to pray for our volunteers. As much as we pray for our students, we should pray that God continuously moves in the lives of our volunteers, that He protects their minds and families, that they know they are loved, and most importantly, that they are equipped and prepared for ministry to students.
Another significant way I have found to invest in their lives personally is through small group time with each other. I meet with my volunteers every other week, and we are currently going through a student ministry book. Once we finish this book, we are going to go through a book of the Bible. I feel that this time is extremely beneficial because it allows us to pour into the spiritual side of our volunteers. It also gives us a chance to teach, mold, and correct any behaviors that may not be appropriate for student ministry. These small group times also allow the volunteers to just hang out with each other. A far too common issue is that adults spend their time hanging out and catching up with each other during the youth service, which means the students are not being invested in. By providing this time, the adults can make new friends, grow relationships, and ultimately become a cohesive force to minister to students.
I have also found that building personal relationships with our volunteers outside of the church has proven beneficial. I am in constant communication with the male volunteers, and my wife is doing the same with the female volunteers. This is beneficial for many reasons, but ultimately because it proves we care about them as individuals, not just because they help us minister to students. As we build these relationships, we are ultimately building friendships, accountability partners, and outstanding volunteers.
Youth workers – make sure you thank your spouses for their help and support! If they actively participate in your ministry, ensure they know how much that means to you. If they would rather support you behind the scenes, make sure they know how much their support means to you. Regardless, make sure your spouse knows they are loved, appreciated, and admired. However, don’t just do this for your own spouse. Go out of your way to thank your volunteers’ spouses as well, especially if they are not on your volunteer team! They sacrifice time with their spouse so that your ministry can reap the benefits of their involvement!
I think we would all agree that student ministry would be next to impossible if it were not for the help of volunteers. I definitely know that I could not do what I do without their help. Whether you have one volunteer or 100, they are the glue that holds your ministry together. Make sure you are doing your part to increase the stickiness of that glue by showing appreciation, loving, and pouring into your volunteers! It is the absolute least we can do for asking them to volunteer their time to appreciate, love, and pour into our students!
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- How do you show your love and appreciation for your volunteers through verbal expression, attitude, and pouring into them as individuals?
- Do your volunteers know the importance they have in your ministry? If not, how can you make sure they do moving forward?
Help your students and the adults in your church make a difference in the lives of others with Volunteer Accelerator: Youth Ministry Edition!
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