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GUEST POST: Setting Up Your Volunteers For Success

 —  April 17, 2011 — 4 Comments

Our ministry at USAFA Club Beyond relies heavily on its volunteers and so there is a deep need to help set them up for success. Here are three things we do to ensure we achieve it.

Empower them. Training is one of the fundamental parts of a great team. Whether you have a group of veteran volunteers or first-timers to youth ministry, everyone can benefit from training. A single yearly training is not enough nor are one hour monthly events. The single, longer session is perfect for vision casting, youth ministry 101, and the overall mission of the youth group. At the same time, monthly meetings are perfect for Q&A from struggling volunteers, tweaking skills, and going over future curriculum. We incorporate both and find that they appreciate all of it.

Equip them. This includes a thorough and purposeful curriculum, a four or six month calendar of events, and all of the necessary equipment. Their job is not to come up with the questions or the lesson (though several of them are great at it and I ask for insight when writing up the curriculum). On their best nights, they stick to the core of the curriculum but follow the discussion of what the students bring up, asking different questions and using other illustrations than what is printed. But when life gets hard, they have a terrible day at work before youth group, or get into an argument with a family member, now they are not coming to club at 100%. This is when preparation key to providing success.

Encourage them. Sure our title is youth worker but at least 30% of our time is invested in adults like our volunteers and so we must make a point to focus on them too. Many of them are hurting just as much as our students but they have figured out how to cope. We need to minister to them in their successes, failures, mistakes, and accomplishments. So if a student is giving them a hard time or they are going through a crisis, buy them a Starbucks and give them an hour or two of your time to be a sounding board or help bear their burdens.

Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years and absolutely loves sharing the life of Jesus with teens. Check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.

Josh Griffin


4 responses to GUEST POST: Setting Up Your Volunteers For Success

  1. Give Them Permission to Fail
    I have found when volunteers are afraid of doing something wrong they become paralyzed. They each have spiritual gifts and God-given talents. They need to be authentic Christians complete with warts and blemishes. Therefore I give my volunteers persmission to fail, to get it wrong, to mess up. (We are not talking about big moral failures.) This seems to relieve the stress they can put on themselves. Instead of feeling like they failed; they can feel like they were more of a success.

  2. Love that those failures by volunteers turned into successes. It is so hard sometimes to stand on the side lines knowing they will fail but stepping in when it does happen and helping them grow from the experience is a gift from God!

    Jeremy Smith

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Friday Update – 22 April 2011 | theDaveJohnson.net - April 22, 2011

    […] The second blog post once again comes from Joshua Griffin’s MoreThanDodgeBall.com and is written by Jeremy Smith from the Air Force Academy Chapel and is all about equipping volunteers for success. Check the article out here. […]

  2. Links of the Week | seventy8 Productions - September 1, 2011

    […] Setting Up Your Volunteers For Success We focus on three things with our volunteers: Empower them, Equip them, and Encourage Them. […]

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