Yesterday, I kicked off a series of tips to keep the volunteers in your Youth Ministry happy by giving the first tip – Don’t count youth service hours as part of your 40 hours. Some great discussion developed both on here and twitter with a number of you, and I’m hoping to keep that going.
Todays tip goes along similar lines as yesterdays.
Don’t make your volunteers do anything you yourself won’t do.
This is nothing new, I am sure you could find a hundred other posts saying this same thing. But it’s something that we all can use a constant reminder of.
Sometimes, its easy to delegate our disliked tasks. I am sure many of us would like it if we could somehow get volunteers to handle every phone call from an angry parent for us. But if we want to keep our volunteers happy, if we want them to know we appreciate them, we can’t ask them to do anything we won’t do.
We will touch on this later in the series, but one example that I feel can often go neglected by us as youth pastors is nights out.
Many in ministry, particularly those of us who are married, have a rule about how many nights we will be out of the house for ministry. Personally, I try to limit that to 4 nights a week, so I can have at least 3 nights to just spend with Sarah.
The problem comes when we expect different from our volunteers. Most of the time, we don’t even realize it, but we need to become aware of how much we are pulling our volunteers out of their homes. Like I said yesterday, our volunteers, for the most part, all work 40 hour work weeks and have families and other responsibilities. Praise God they want to give us some time to minister in the Youth Ministry.
But I need to know X volunteer works 40 hours a week and has two kids, is part of a women’s Bible Study, and has to watch her two kids while her husband is at a mens bible study later in the week. She wants to help, awesome, so let’s get her plugged in. Lets keep in mind, she essentially already has a good chunk of her free nights needing to go to her family, her personal development ministry, and her husbands ministry. So when she asks where I need her, I need to keep in mind how many nights I would be asking her to be away from home and her family to do what I’m about to ask her to do.
I’d like to keep the majority of my volunteers at needing to be out of the house no more than 2 nights a week for our Student Ministry, and usually its just 1 night for most. Sometimes it puts extra pressure on myself if it turns out we are going to be under staffed, but I have also found Volunteers much more willing to help out extra nights if they know that I’m not expecting anything of them that I am not already doing, and the fact that I am at least aware of their giving of their time.
So what are your thoughts? Have you been guilty of asking volunteers to do things you yourself wouldn’t do? What was it?