I’ve spent the last week looking at the topic of volunteers:

Every year youth ministry plays a little game.  We seem to burn out the volunteer leaders we managed to convince to stay for another year, and so we have to start a search to find enough leaders for the next academic year.  The high turnover in leaders provides less than satisfactory care for young people, and increases the stress and pressure that paid youth ministers and youth workers have to deal with.

What happens if we closed the back door?  What if we focused our energy, not on recruitment (although that still won’t totally go away because we keep on growing in size) and focused on keeping the volunteers we already have on our team.  What if we celebrated, loved, encouraged and trained the leaders we already have in such a way that they stayed longer than a year or two.  What if we worked hard to create “lifers” that outlast us and at the same time naturally mentor and grow the new leaders that are attracted to serving in your ministry.

Who’s already on your team who you could connect with this week?  Who do you see as a long-term player in your youth ministry inner circle that might not see that themselves?  What are you doing in your ministry to keep the keepers?  I want to be a part of a place that pours into volunteers, caring for them in such a way that they stay on the team for years, not months.  I know that still not all will stay and we will still have to recruit each year, but I’d love to stop playing the game.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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