It was a moment of panic. We had 30 people sign up to get involved with ministry. It was fantastic, I was so excited, and then I wondered, “What if these people aren’t qualified for youth ministry?”
I had just spent weeks advocating to the larger church why they needed to plug into student ministry. There was a great response, and everyone was excited to check out some of the format changes we had made. The group was large; but then I thought to myself, what if we attracted some one not qualified?
Every youth ministry needs volunteers. But, not every person who wants to serve in youth ministry should. Just because you love God and love teenagers doesn’t mean you are qualified. To make sure you are finding the right people in ministry, you should make sure they are:
LOYAL TO THE VISION
There will be a variety of reasons why people sign up to serve in student ministry. Make sure that no matter what the reason, it leads to the vision of your ministry and church. People not sold out for your vision are not qualified. You will discover that many volunteers are tempted to go out on their own. Make sure that vision spreads to coworkers, family and friends.
COMMITTED TO THE TEAM
A strong youth ministry is one where the volunteers are committed to one another. That means stepping up when there is a hole that needs to be filled. Create opportunities for your leaders to bond and get to know one another. Make sure that your team is not only investing in teenagers but one another as well. A strong core will build a strong ministry willing to take on any challenge.
HUMBLE IN HOW THEY SERVE
Whether it’s opening doors or leading an activity, nothing should be beneath your team. Anyone who complains about being better than a specific task should not be on your team. You want people on your team who do not mind rolling up their sleeves. Find people who do not sweat the small stuff; they’ll be some of your most loyal volunteers.
AUTHENTIC WITH WHO THEY ARE
You want people who aren’t afraid to be who they are. That means looking for people who are confident with how God created them. People who are not afraid to admit their failures. You want volunteers who are not embarrassed to say, “I don’t know.” When volunteers try to be someone they are not, teens will know it and label your ministry as a place filled with hypocrites.
Don’t just take anyone, take the most qualified adults in your church. To discern who has these qualities and who doesn’t, make sure you:
Set up an interview and screening process.
Communicate the vision up front.
Let them try it out before you (or they) commit.
The stronger your volunteer core, the better off your ministry. Do not look for warm bodies; instead, take the time to map out whom you want serving in the trenches of youth ministry.
What have you found as a successful way of recruiting qualified ministry leaders?