Investing in Youth Ministry Volunteers during Fall Kick off

August 13, 2018     Ben Read    

NOTE: This one is from the archives (August 6, 2012)

It’s a busy season for us in Boston. Our Youth Ministry is still a few weeks away from launching for the fall, and we are in the midst of heavy planning of sermons for now through may, small group curriculum writing, event planning, and much more. It’s supposed to still be “Vacation” but I know I’ll be in need of one as soon as summer is over.

Currently, we are doing the final rounds of getting with each and every youth ministry volunteer over lunch or coffee to talk about the coming year, several of the changes we are making, why we are making them, where they want to be this year, and the most important thing, making the ask, “Will you come back for another year?” I would love to someday get to the point of having all our volunteers make commitments to serve for 6 years, but right now, were still on a somewhat year by year basis.

However, one of the biggest changes we are making this year to our Student Ministry is the role of volunteers, giving them a great deal more responsibility/freedom to do ministry, but thats a post for another day.

But, if we expect more out of our volunteers, we have to do more for our volunteers. We cant just let them loose and hope for the best, there does come a bit of training, of modeling and showing the example, but there also comes a bit of investing in what they are doing.

And here is what we are doing over the next few weeks to invest in our Youth Ministry volunteers for the year:

 

  • One-on-one meetings over coffee/lunch/dinner

  • Celebration night

  • Staff T-shirts

  • Physical Resources

 

One-on-one meetings over coffee/lunch/dinner

Over the last 3 weeks and the next 3 weeks, I’ve had 3-5 meetings with different volunteers. What I have enjoyed is getting some great feedback from last year, and seeing our volunteers really get excited about this coming year of Ministry and where we want to go. It’s not always easy hearing critiques, but I also believe we don’t need a bunch of “Yes Men” or women ย on our volunteer staff. Meeting one-on-one provides the space needed for volunteers to be open and honest, and I need to hear their real thoughts on how some things went, as well as their thoughts moving forward with those things. The only exception to the one-on-one meetings is with our female leaders, my wife joins me on those.

Celebration night

We’ve had on the calendar for the last few months a night for our volunteers to come together and just have a good time. We had some crazy plans, but a lot of them kind of went by the wayside due to budget concerns, but we wanted to still have a good time with our team. We’re going to go play laser tag, because nothing brings unity like a bit of competition, and then come back to our house for a dinner, possibly swimming, and just hanging out as friends for a few hours.

Staff T-shirts

This year, one of our strategic changes is promotion of the ministry, getting the word out that we are here. One of the ways we are doing that is attempting to get t-shirts for anything and everything we can. We wanted to get a special shirt just for our volunteers to set them apart at Youth Group Services and Sunday Mornings, so that people would know “these are volunteers.”

Physical Resources

We also wanted to invest in training, like I mentioned before. This year, we are getting all of our volunteers the book Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunasย . We’ll probably get them all another book in the spring semester, just dont know what it is, and with both we will work through the books together over the course of a few weeks.

But this is quite the investment in every volunteer, and the upfront cost can be kind of scary, but at the same time, I am fully assured this is the best investment we can make in our student ministry.

 

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Comments

0 thoughts on “Investing in Youth Ministry Volunteers during Fall Kick off”

  1. Austin Walker

    From the start, our volunteers this year are getting a lanyard/name badge, T shirt, welcome cards (a la stuffyoucanuse) to hand out to parents, a huge resource/help manual I wrote for them, book discounts (aka, they order, i subsidize) and then I make sure to give them a christmas and end of year gift as well.

      1. Austin Walker

        Lot of work. At this point, since our media dept created it, I can’t send it out or anything like that outside of our volunteer teams. Hoping that changes. No one is against it, there’s just channels I have to go through etc.

  2. Austin Walker

    From the start, our volunteers this year are getting a lanyard/name badge, T shirt, welcome cards (a la stuffyoucanuse) to hand out to parents, a huge resource/help manual I wrote for them, book discounts (aka, they order, i subsidize) and then I make sure to give them a christmas and end of year gift as well.

      1. Austin Walker

        Lot of work. At this point, since our media dept created it, I can’t send it out or anything like that outside of our volunteer teams. Hoping that changes. No one is against it, there’s just channels I have to go through etc.

  3. Tammy Foseid

    Thanks for this article. I have to admit I am at fault for kind of overlooking the Volunteers at times. I have a kick-off meeting with them actually this Sunday when we will all discuss the new year, where we want it to go, and wish lists for this year. I look forward to this time, but it is a short meeting as I am fully aware of how busy everyone is. I have an amazing team of about 9 people this year (2 newbies) and am excited to see what God will do through us this year with our students.

    1. Ben Read

      That’s awesome. I’ve always struggled with how much to plan for those meetings, do I come in there and just lay out where I think the ministry needs to go and get their feedback, or just listen to their ideas. This coming year I think I have the best balance Ive ever had of that.

  4. Tammy Foseid

    Thanks for this article. I have to admit I am at fault for kind of overlooking the Volunteers at times. I have a kick-off meeting with them actually this Sunday when we will all discuss the new year, where we want it to go, and wish lists for this year. I look forward to this time, but it is a short meeting as I am fully aware of how busy everyone is. I have an amazing team of about 9 people this year (2 newbies) and am excited to see what God will do through us this year with our students.

    1. Ben Read

      That’s awesome. I’ve always struggled with how much to plan for those meetings, do I come in there and just lay out where I think the ministry needs to go and get their feedback, or just listen to their ideas. This coming year I think I have the best balance Ive ever had of that.

  5. Jeff Howard

    Thanks for the post. We are giving our volunteers a T-Shirt for special events, a book, a Christmas party just for them (no students), a special training and handbook, and we also try to touch base one on one at least once a semester.

  6. Jeff Howard

    Thanks for the post. We are giving our volunteers a T-Shirt for special events, a book, a Christmas party just for them (no students), a special training and handbook, and we also try to touch base one on one at least once a semester.

  7. Katy Johnston

    I wish we could go on a pre-kick-off cruise together. I can’t think of a better investment for the best people I’ve ever met in my life. We’re having a kick off meeting/ dinner shortly. I love the idea of going through a book together.

  8. Katy Johnston

    I wish we could go on a pre-kick-off cruise together. I can’t think of a better investment for the best people I’ve ever met in my life. We’re having a kick off meeting/ dinner shortly. I love the idea of going through a book together.

  9. Matt Ryba

    I have quarterly meetings/gatherings. Some of them, such as a fall kickoff or even a mid year meeting, are for providing structure, getting feedback/ideas, group planning and analysis…..while other meetings are for group fellowship, games, and a chance for us leaders to connect and chat…..

    i also like to treat our leaders at random times throughout the year with a small gift or personal thank you card etc.

    For our fall kickoff I am catering in some Panera while we discuss and plan this upcoming year!

  10. Matt Ryba

    I have quarterly meetings/gatherings. Some of them, such as a fall kickoff or even a mid year meeting, are for providing structure, getting feedback/ideas, group planning and analysis…..while other meetings are for group fellowship, games, and a chance for us leaders to connect and chat…..

    i also like to treat our leaders at random times throughout the year with a small gift or personal thank you card etc.

    For our fall kickoff I am catering in some Panera while we discuss and plan this upcoming year!

  11. Chase M.

    Most of our volunteer money goes to rewards like starbucks cards, etc., throughout the year, no big launch thing

  12. Chase M.

    Most of our volunteer money goes to rewards like starbucks cards, etc., throughout the year, no big launch thing

  13. Heather Lea Campbell

    “if we expect more out of our volunteers, we have to do more for our volunteers” Love that.

    I like to show my volunteers that I’m investing in them and desire to grow WITH them, and provide them with opportunities to teach ME. This means that when we gather for meetings (which always involve coffee or dinner or something low-key) I ask them to bring resources, like articles or blogs or books or whatnot. Being a disciple means being a learner and a teacher, and I want that to be the center of my relationships with my volunteers.

    1. Ben Read

      I love the idea of having them bring articles or blogs and whatnot. I know a few of mine read here occasionally, but would love to see them getting more invested in seeking out Youth Ministry stuff for their growth. Great idea!

  14. Heather Lea Campbell

    “if we expect more out of our volunteers, we have to do more for our volunteers” Love that.

    I like to show my volunteers that I’m investing in them and desire to grow WITH them, and provide them with opportunities to teach ME. This means that when we gather for meetings (which always involve coffee or dinner or something low-key) I ask them to bring resources, like articles or blogs or books or whatnot. Being a disciple means being a learner and a teacher, and I want that to be the center of my relationships with my volunteers.

  15. Zachary Johnson

    Great post, I really like your suggestions! I voted for more than $25 because as it is my wife is the only volunteer and she takes way more than $25 from me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ben Read

      Haha, totally understand. My wife just came on staff with the Youth Ministry, and though she had been a volunteer with me for the last 3 years, it definitely brought some major changes and challenges, but its a blast.

  16. Zachary Johnson

    Great post, I really like your suggestions! I voted for more than $25 because as it is my wife is the only volunteer and she takes way more than $25 from me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Chris Quinto

    Haven’t thought much about “volunteer appreciation” during our fall kickoff. we do other things around christmas and end of year.

  18. Adam Mew

    I appreciate this reminder to value volunteers because we can’t overdo this. I agree with providing a training book for them. We gave our volunteers a book back in the spring and they really enjoyed it.

    This week I was blessed to be able to give my leaders a $25 gift card to restaurants.

    However, one of the best ways to value volunteers is to keep them “in the know” by constant communication and listen to them because they have needs and great ideas.

  19. Adam Mew

    I appreciate this reminder to value volunteers because we can’t overdo this. I agree with providing a training book for them. We gave our volunteers a book back in the spring and they really enjoyed it.

    This week I was blessed to be able to give my leaders a $25 gift card to restaurants.

    However, one of the best ways to value volunteers is to keep them “in the know” by constant communication and listen to them because they have needs and great ideas.

  20. Samantha

    Wish we could invest in our volunteers more, our budget doesnt give us much room. Agree that investing in our volunteers is a great investment, but we have to use most of our budget for scholarships to different activities, and so we need to have students there to be poured into by the volunteers.

  21. Samantha

    Wish we could invest in our volunteers more, our budget doesnt give us much room. Agree that investing in our volunteers is a great investment, but we have to use most of our budget for scholarships to different activities, and so we need to have students there to be poured into by the volunteers.

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