Investing More Than Time Into Volunteers

If you do more than just give sermons in your ministry, you must love your volunteers. This means that part of your month is designated to your volunteers, be it training or chatting over coffee, we need to invest in them. That investment costs you a bit of time, energy and attention and shows them that you appreciate their hard work. But I would recommend that you invest more than just a little bit of time when working with volunteers.

These people give up time with their family and maybe even some of their money to be with students and help you with the mission to share God’s story with the teens. They may be behind-the-scenes workers or up front with you when doing a talk or fun game. Regardless of what they do, we can give a little more than our time to honor them.

Here are five ideas to invest in your volunteers that cost more than your time:

  • Pay for everything. This means everything from their initial background check to the ski retreat you are going on. If you ask them to give up several hours every week, you should not be punishing them by making them pay for doing so. If you do not have the budget for it, reach into your own pocket or charge a little extra at all of your events so that they do not have to pay a cent.
  • Give everyone a personality/gifts assessment test. While we ask our volunteers what their strengths and weaknesses may be in ministry, there are so many great resources out there to assess what those strengths are. Giving them one of these tests a year is a great way to know where they may best fit into your ministry, but even better, they may learn more about themselves.
  • Reward them each year for their service. Volunteers do not get into youth ministry for the rewards, but we can offer them something great each year for their service. Obviously this is a location-based idea, but know what your volunteers like to do to get a better idea. Maybe this means that you babysit for all of your volunteers so that they can go out on the first date with their spouse in years. Maybe you pay for them to go to a theme-park and enjoy a day of roller coasters and theme park fun.
  • Provide free youth ministry resources. Every year, we give free books to our youth ministry volunteers on books that I have read that had great material to pull front. This year, we did The 9. Make it a fun read and do not turn it into homework for them.
  • Make a volunteer-of-the-month parking spot. Do you get your own parking spot? Give it up for that one volunteer that has gone the extra mile and let them park right next to the door. This shows a fun appreciation for them, especially if you have harsh winters or unbearable hot summers.

What do you do for your volunteers beyond spending time with them?

16 Comments

  1. I think consistently letting them know they are valued and appreciated is important. Every week, I make sure to offer a few encouraging words before volunteers leave. I suggest watching sponsors (volunteers) during the night and pick up on things you can brag about them. Then brag about them in front of others. We all want to be valued and we all want to be noticed. Finally i'd add, every so often, write a hand written card to your volunteers. Not all at once, so they KNOW they are special and thought of as an individual. I've failed a lot in this area in the past, but God is blessing the efforts currently.
    • I totally agree that failure is possible and the "busyness" of ministry overtakes the priorities of volunteers. That is why I put it in my calendar to remind myself that I need to give them the time they deserve.
  2. I think consistently letting them know they are valued and appreciated is important. Every week, I make sure to offer a few encouraging words before volunteers leave. I suggest watching sponsors (volunteers) during the night and pick up on things you can brag about them. Then brag about them in front of others. We all want to be valued and we all want to be noticed. Finally i'd add, every so often, write a hand written card to your volunteers. Not all at once, so they KNOW they are special and thought of as an individual. I've failed a lot in this area in the past, but God is blessing the efforts currently.

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