3 Ways to Get Your Volunteers to Buy Into Your Ministry

Garrett Martin
March 11th, 2021

I started my current position in 2016 and inherited a great team of volunteers who were willing to do anything with our students. However, about a year or two later, I was feeling the effects of burnout. I didn’t realize it until one of my volunteers bluntly called me out on not giving them an opportunity to handle the load.

We don’t realize it, but our volunteers can be our greatest resource. As you’re reading this, hopefully you realize the importance of that resource and getting your volunteers to buy in. The significance of getting your leaders involved is that they feel they have a sense of purpose and reason why they’re there and they feel appreciated. How can we get them to buy in?

1. Listen

The first one seems almost too simple. Listening can help prevent a lot of future headaches. If your leaders feel invested in the ministry, they feel safe enough to come to you if there are any problems or issues. As you listen, remember not to take what your leader is saying as a personal attack. Be open to what they’re saying. Their voice needs to be heard, otherwise they’re not going to feel appreciated. If a volunteer doesn’t feel that they can come to you with an idea or problem, then there are chances that they’re going to leave or talk around you without going to you. Always offer an open door and an open ear.

2. Delegate

The second one is delegate. You don’t have to do everything. If you’re not musically inclined, then you shouldn’t worry about worship. Reach out to your leaders and have them do a spiritual gift test and see where they’re gifted. After you realize what they’re gifted in, give them an opportunity to lead in those areas. Giving your leaders a sense of responsibility and purpose helps take the burden off of you. Check in with your leaders to see how they’re doing and what they’re envisioning for their area. Offer any resources that could help grow their area and themselves.

3. Have Fun

Lastly, have fun together. Ministry can be fun. Enjoy each other’s company, whether you’re with the students or not. Every August, I take my leaders on a leaders’ retreat where we can enjoy each other’s company, prepare for the upcoming school year, and pray for the students. It’s something that we all enjoy and has continued to grow. When the students see how well your team gets along and supports each other, the more they’re going to want to come. The students aren’t placed into this awkward spot siding with one leader versus another. As you and your team have fun, that positive energy spreads to the students and makes your time more enjoyable.

These ways may seem simple, but as a youth pastor, it is vital to remember that we don’t need to do everything. You have people in your congregation who want to hang out with students. But, those volunteers want to make sure that their time is going to be appreciated and valued. If a volunteer doesn’t feel appreciated and valued, then they’re going to leave. It is also important to have your volunteers realize the expectations that you have for them. What are you expecting from them? They also want to know your vision for the ministry. As your volunteers see the vision in action and understand their role in that vision, they will find that sense of purpose and belonging. It will also attract new volunteers to your ministry. The better the buy in that you have with your volunteers, the more the word is going to get around about the health and growth of your ministry.

Each ministry is different. Each group of volunteers is different. Each youth pastor is different. But, going through these three ways to get your volunteers to buy in will greatly help you, in the long run, to see your ministry be successful. It is a continued investment. The more you invest in your leaders, the more they’re going to invest in the ministry.

Garrett Martin

Garrett has been the Youth Pastor at Redland Valley BIC Church in Lewisberry, PA, since 2016. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Pastoral Leadership & Biblical Exposition. Garrett and his wife currently live in Lancaster with their cat Lucy.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.