Communicating with Youth Ministry Volunteers
Communicating with your volunteers is a necessary part of doing ministry and building relationships. We are not just looking for a body to fill space but instead to intentionally invite our leaders to lead and love students and families. We need to spend time getting to know them, equipping them with the tools and training to do effective ministry, and walking alongside them through all the ups and downs of everyday life and serving in God’s Kingdom. All of this requires regular communication and below you will find some ways to invest in and care for your volunteer leaders.
Provide your potential new or returning leaders with informational leader packets prior to serving in your ministry. You should meet with these leaders in person to explain the vision of the youth ministry, expectations and job descriptions, and provide access to any additional materials that they may need including small group discussion questions, ice-breaker ideas, leadership training resources, ministry calendars, and contact info/bios for the students they will be leading. This is also a great time to collect information needed for background checks and leadership applications.
Weekly Emails and Check-Ins
Once your leaders are regularly serving in the youth ministry, you should send them regular emails to prepare them for the week ahead. The following information can be included in your email: Gratitude or specific ways that you appreciated their leadership that week; small group questions or teaching materials for the following week; a short devotion that applies your next lesson to their lives; links or information on current youth culture trends.
Social media could be another way to communicate to your leaders depending on how they consume information. You can post some of the above information through private groups or posts using personal or ministry social media accounts.
It is also a good idea to check-in with your leaders either before or after your weekly programs. Take a few minutes to affirm your leaders, pray together, prepare for or evaluate that day’s event, and make sure that your leaders feel equipped and cared for.
Regular leaders meetings can be a great time to grow closer as a team, evaluate the ministry, train your leaders, and plan ahead for upcoming events. Try to make these meetings fun so that leaders will want to be a part of them. Some ways to do that could be to provide a meal or by meeting at a restaurant or coffee shop. You can also schedule various activities that create opportunities to simply hangout together like going to a sporting event or a cookout with playtime at a park. It is important to learn about your leaders’ lives outside of ministry and learn more about who God created them to be.
These monthly meetings can look different from month to month but it is also important to use this time to equip your leaders. Some ways you can do this include:
- Doing a leadership book study together
- Leadership training videos
- Creating conversation by asking questions or proposing scenarios for your leaders to discuss and problem solve together.
Share ideas and spend some time talking about specific concerns or highlights that are happening within your ministry:
- Who are the students who need extra prayer or attention?
- What has been challenging or helpful for you as you lead students?
- What are some ways that you have seen God at work in the lives of our students, families, or leaders?
- What events are coming up and what do we need to do in order to make them successful?
Once you have completed a program or event, schedule some time shortly after to evaluate how everything went. You can make this a fun experience by inviting your leaders and their families for a cookout together. While the families are playing, you can meet with your leaders to discuss what went well and what could improve for the next year.
Another nice way to communicate your appreciation to your leaders is to meet with them individually for lunch or coffee to talk about their personal experience serving in your ministry. Ask them the following questions:
- What was encouraging or challenging for you this past year?
- How can I improve my leadership in order to help you succeed?
- How can I best use your gifts and passions within our ministry?
When you have regular communication with your leaders your ministry will be impacted in the following ways:
- You will develop deeper relationships and trust among your leadership team.
- Your leaders will feel prepared and set up for success as they impact students lives relationally and spiritually.
- Your leaders will feel appreciated and excited about serving in your ministry which will encourage others to get involved as well.
ANDY JUVINALL has been serving in youth ministry for 15+ years and especially loves junior high ministry! He also creates resources for Download Youth Ministry and enjoys encouraging other youth workers. Andy and his wife Melissa have two young kids (Maggie and Levi) and love serving in family ministry together at their church! If being a youth pastor wasn’t an option, Andy would most likely be a competitive eater or screaming in a rock band.
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.