#6 Enlist, Equip, & Empower Volunteers (2 Tim. 2:2; Luke 10:1)
Instead of relying on just one person to do everything in ministry (the youth pastor), develop team of willing and capable adults to invest their time and energy into students’ lives.
- Start recruiting adults at least six months before a new year of youth group ministry.
- Develop a pool of potential recruits – including a name of a potential volunteer beside each open position – and diligently make phone calls, have coffee, or lunches until you find the people you need.
- Once you have the volunteers, regularly communicate with them. Give them job descriptions, behavioral covenants, and an accountability structure.
- Affirm and encourage them regularly by showing your appreciation in creative ways (giving them gift cards, inviting them to the pastor’s home for dinner, etc.).
- Make sure that the adults are connected to each other as well as to the students, with everyone working together. Help volunteers build friendships with each other, and encourage them to remain committed to volunteering with the youth ministry for at least several years so they can see growth occur in students’ lives.
- Delegate responsibility to key volunteers by building a culture of apprenticeship.
- Equip volunteers with the tools they need to succeed. Provide regular systematic training to sharpen their skills.
- Empower them with authority. No one enjoys being responsible for something without at least some measure of authority to make decisions.
Youth ministry is not the place for lone rangers. For decades now the Church in North America has been enamored with what Mark DeVries calls the “light bulb” youth pastor who shines bright for a while and then burns out. That way of thinking must stop. Equipping a team (no matter if the team is 2, 20 or 200) is foundational to effective, long term, transformative ministry.