Every year we do a simple dinner-and-a-movie thank you dinner for our volunteers. We dress up all warm in pea coats and scarves and go all Christmas cheer on our team of weekend and small group volunteers. We encourage them to bring their spouses and in some instances even help them find childcare for the night. It is a great relational time with our team, and gives us a chance to love them and their spouse mid-year. They make a ton of sacrifices and we want them to be sure of our availability, love and confidence in them.
In addition to the free Italian buffet and discount movie pass we may put a resource or two on their place-setting. Was thinking today about what one we may do this year and came up with a few I like the best. Not sure if you’re planning on doing something like this, but both the dinner and the book are good uses of your youth ministry budget (if you have any left, or even have one in the first place). A few recommendations:
1) Emergency Response Handbook for Youth Ministry
This is one of my go-to resources to put in the hands of volunteers. Got an emergency? Flip through this little resource quick and you’ll probably get some next steps and a few things to say in the moment. Then call the church or my cell phone and we’ll talk through where to go from here.
2) The Hot Seat
This is a fun new resource I haven’t used yet – discussion starters and games for those long van-rides! If you’re looking to fill awkward silences or have a laugh together as you build relationships, this might be one to check out.
3) Breathe: Youth Worker Devotional
A short collection of devotionals specifically designed for youth workers. This is the one I’m leaning on to give my volunteers here at the mid-way point in the year.
4) The “What Do I Do When” book series
I’m not always sure what to do when I stumble into a confession or a problem with students – my volunteers are probably in that exact same situation, and some are even less prepared than I am. This series of books (around $5 each) helps your team know how to deal with bullying, abuse, suicide and much more. Great, practical stuff.
5) 1-year subscription to Group Magazine
A couple years back we gave a 1-year subscription to every one of our volunteers. It was the gift that kept on giving all year long! I think next year it might be time to this one again – especially since they added 6 free digital issues as well as the regular 6 print issues, too. Nice!