A new pastor was visiting the homes of his parishioners hoping to recruit some volunteers for a new project. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. So, he took out a business card that had “Revelation 3:20” printed on the back of it for such an occasion, and stuck it in the door.
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, “Genesis 3:10.” Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter. Revelation 3:20 begins “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Genesis 3:10 reads, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.”
Try This! ❯
Take the time this week to identify what kind of leaders you need for your youth ministry—even if you already have all the volunteers that you want. At the very least, you will have laid the groundwork for recruiting in the future.
Searching for volunteers can feel like a daunting task. After all, how can you possibly convince people to volunteer precious hours each week to spend with moody, twitchy, self-absorbed teenagers? And as you try to generate interest in volunteering, what strategies do you use to help find the right kind of leaders for your teenagers to follow?
Finding the right adult leaders is abundantly important because, as Dare 2 Share’s Greg Stier puts it, “you and your adult leaders are the default thermostat for how much disciple-multiplying heat you are applying towards your youth ministry.” When cranked up high, your students will tend to be the same way. But if the Gospel Advancing thermostat is set to low, then your students will most likely be the same way. Finding the right leaders can make or break your ministry’s influence. Here are 4 Secrets to Finding the Right Leaders:Your ministry's thermostat is set by the people who lead it. Click To Tweet
1. Don’t Announce the Need
Churches need volunteers in order to be effective; the staff cannot do it all on their own—and they shouldn’t! The church needs to provide opportunities for its members to volunteer and minister in Jesus’ name. This allows for the body of believers to widen its reach; it offers great ways for people to grow in their gifts and live out their calling—especially since staff members oftentimes have to wear so many hats (e.g., preacher, administrator, counselor, janitor, punching bag, etc.). Thus, having some help can greatly strengthen your ministry, but be careful on how you decide to announce your need!
Having a youth ministry fair where people can signup to volunteer may sound fun, but it can easily create some major problems. That is, there are some people, no matter how kindhearted, who aren’t meant to be in youth ministry. Think of the years of terrible singers who continued to audition on American Idol despite their lack of talent (or awareness, for that matter). You don’t want the unaware and out-of-touch adults in your ministry, so don’t put out a signup sheet where anyone can “audition.”
What if I just reject the people on the signup sheet who don’t “make the cut?” If reality TV has taught us anything, it’s that people don’t take rejection well. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to give reasons for why someone isn’t quite “good enough” for the ministry. This can end up really hurting someone who otherwise could have been motivated to serve in another area of ministry. And, God forbid, you don’t want to discourage someone from being an active part of the church. Rejection can easily dispirit someone from serving and leave them feeling hurt and undervalued.
2. Identify What You Are Looking For
What type of adult leader are you looking for? In many ways, this will be based on factors like availability, reliability and relatable authenticity. However, every youth ministry will vary slightly on what this looks like. For instance, you need a healthy male/female balance. But at the core of what you decide to look for should be someone who can get wholeheartedly behind the Seven Gospel Advancing Values.
Ideally, you want volunteers who are high will and high skill. In other words, these are the kinds of leaders who are passionate about youth ministry and know what to do. But if you find yourself in a situation where skill is not available, then focus your attention on people who still have a high will to help. Low skill people, for the most part, can always be trained; will, on the other hand, cannot be forced upon anyone. The worst thing that could happen is having a low will volunteer—even if they seem like they have a lot going for them (i.e., young, gifted and love Jesus). If they don’t have any commitment to serving in the ministry, they will be ineffective leaders.
3. Scout for People
Once you’ve established your criteria, scout out stellar adult leaders within your church. Try inviting them out to coffee so that you can get to know them better and share the vision for your youth ministry. In the meeting, you can share Titus 2:1-6, where the older men and women are challenged to pour into the younger generation. Even if they don’t decide to commit, they will still be flattered that you thought of them as a leader and, who knows, they could decide to volunteer down the road. At least you took the time to share what your vision is for the youth ministry and built a deeper relationship with a member of your church body.
4. Pray for Wisdom
Ultimately, Scripture reminds us that if we lack wisdom all we need to do is ask our Heavenly Father (James 1:6). Don’t let yourself become frustrated with who to choose or how to go about it. Remember, every youth ministry will look different and there isn’t a perfect answer for how to go about getting the “right” adult leader for your own ministry. If you find yourself overwhelmed and not knowing what to do, just pray. Repeatedly in Scripture we see that prayer provides results. God will give you wisdom if you ask. And feel free to check out some of our Gospel Advancing Podcasts on recruiting the right leaders.
Always remember that throughout the ages God has been faithful to His church, and He will continue to be. Having the right kind of volunteers will help you in fulfilling the mission of God and the vision of your ministry. Take the time this week to identify what kind of leaders you need for your youth ministry—even if you already have all the volunteers that you want. At the very least, you will have laid the groundwork for recruiting in the future.
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on, weekly resource in your inbox!