Having a solid group of volunteer leaders is key to having a successful student ministry. As student pastors, we are always looking for new volunteers to help us maintain our growing ministries. But finding the right volunteers can be a long process. You don’t want just anybody being on your leadership team. There are certain characteristics, personalities, gifts and talents you are looking for. Identifying those traits is not my intent for this post. My intent is to share four non-negotiable things every one of your volunteers must have. I use the word “love” because every volunteer leader you have should love these four things. Loving these four things will affect the way they do ministry with your students.
Love Jesus. Your volunteers must have a growing love for Jesus. There must be clear evidence they are growing in their faith. This is so important because if a volunteer is not loving Jesus, they will be ineffective with your students. Houston Heflin, in his book Youth Pastor, defines student ministry this way: “Youth ministry is a Spirit-led discipleship process by which God works through Christian adults to lead teens into relationship with God and to Christlike maturity as part of the body of Christ, the church.” Student ministry is God working through your volunteers. This means it is imperative that your volunteers love Jesus and are walking with Him. They cannot take your students where they have not gone.
Love students. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in student ministries and seen volunteers who don’t love students. It makes me wonder what they are even doing serving there? I’m sure there are many reasons, but if a volunteer doesn’t have a love for students, then they should find somewhere else to serve. Students in our world are in desperate need of love. Love from an adult who will be there for them, care for them and point them to Jesus. Make sure your volunteers not only love Jesus, but out of that love comes a love for students.
Love your ministry. You don’t want volunteers coming on board who don’t like what you’re doing. You may encounter some adults who think you’re not doing it right so they will come on board to “correct” it. Or you may even have a parent who wants to volunteer as a leader but only to “keep an eye on his/her child.” These are not good reasons to become a volunteer and that doesn’t show a love for what you’re doing in your ministry. Make sure your volunteers are on board with what you are doing.
Love the church. Don’t overlook this one. Your volunteers must love the church. This is just one reason you need to only pull volunteers from the membership at your local church. Your volunteers needs to be faithful, committed members of the church before they can be a part of your ministry. You also want volunteers who love the church so they will point students to something greater than the student ministry: the local church.
Evaluate your volunteers and make sure they love Jesus, students, your ministry and the church. These are things that need to be true of every volunteer. Make sure you spend time picking the right volunteers. It’s important you build a team of adults who can do effective ministry along side of you.