Creating Your Niche

We just finished our 4th week of The Landing (Celebrate Recovery’s 12-step program for students). I have 21 volunteers helping me out. They’ve been FANTASTIC!!! What’s been amazingly helpful is some of them have stepped up in their area of expertise and created niches for themselves within the ministry. Here are some examples:

Rick G and Vivian were part of the previous recovery program we had for students. I never saw that program in action and neither did any of our other volunteers. They are both using their experience to offer direction based on their experience. What I love about their contribution is they offer their advice then step back allow me to do with it what I think is best. They don’t demand their own way. This is super helpful to me as I lead this new program. I’m also using them as small group coordinators. They own the small group portion of the program… Rick heads up the guys and Vivian heads up the girls.

Kate has a background in food service. She OWNS our pizza ministry. She shows up early to set up the food services, makes it look nice, oversees the food sales and cleanup. I don’t have to think about food services because I know Kate is doing a great job. She offered to do this and I was glad to let her.

Rick M is a parent of teenagers and has lots of experience working with his own recovery issues as well as helping his kids through recovery. He is the perfect person to handle our parent table. He greets parents and puts their minds at ease about The Landing by taking them through what our program is all about. He also is great at answering their questions.

Johnny is a tattooed and formerly rough-and-tumble volunteer who is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. However, because he’s been around the block a few times, he’s my guy to help a kid who might be disruptive or show up in crisis.

Vivian (same as above) recently quit her job to stay home with her daughter. While her daughter is in school, Vivian is my queen of organization. She maintains our database, makes copies, helps me get set up for Friday and helps me think through what will get our program dialed in.

And the list goes on, but you get the idea…

What can you, as a volunteer, own in your ministry. As a ministry leader who has very limited time to spend on the tasks listed above, I am very appreciative of the help. There’s no way this ministry would function without volunteers owning different aspects of the ministry.

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Dennis Beckner has served in youth ministry leadership for Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA since 1999. Dennis is a contributor and speaker to youth training events, writing projects and other engagements. Contact him at his blog,