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Encouraging Words for Volunteers: 16 Things People Need to Hear

encouraging words for volunteers

Is volunteer retention a problem in your youth ministry? Maybe you need to assess the messages you’re sending to these valuable helpers. I believe these 16 simple but encouraging words for volunteers will keep them coming back for more:

“Thank you! You are making a difference. You’re such a great ______. I’m praying for you!”

16 Encouraging Words for Volunteers

Gary Eilts has been a volunteer in our junior high ministry for many years. When I joined the team in 1997, Gary was introduced as a veteran helper. Alli is a senior in high school who co-leads my daughter’s eighth-grade small group. She’s been on our team for about four months.

Even though Gary and Alli are in completely different worlds when it comes to junior high ministry experience and life stage (Alli was in junior high three years ago, and Gary was in junior high somewhere around the time Kennedy was president!), they both need to hear some things over and over.

Let’s take a look at these basic but very vital encouraging words for volunteers.

Thank You…

We all know that tweens and teens don’t say that phrase often enough. And I would venture to guess that youth pastors don’t either. Every volunteer on your team regularly needs to hear a genuine thank you.

You are making a difference

In fact, just tag this on to your “Thank you.” How often have you wondered if what you do matters? The same is true for the volunteer leaders on your student ministry team.

You’re such a great _________…

In fact, just tag this on to your “Thank you, you are making a difference” line. It feels good when people verbally recognize what we bring to the table. Make it a habit to point out the little, subtle things your volunteers are good at as well as the more obvious ones.

I’m praying for you.

In fact, just tag this on to your “Thank you, you are making a difference. You’re such a great _________” line. I like telling people I’m praying for them, because then I kind of have to actually do it! What volunteer doesn’t appreciate knowing that the leader they serve alongside is lifting them to God the Father?

“Thank you, you are making a difference. You’re such a great ________. I’m praying for you”

Those 16 simple yet encouraging words for volunteers are sure to keep people coming back for more ministry, more service, and more encouragement. Even after the seventh-grade guys shove a potato up the tailpipe of their car.

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kurtjohnston@churchleaders.com'
Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.