What to Develop When You’re Developing Your Volunteers

January 31st, 2017

There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking about volunteer development. You want volunteers that are well-rounded. You want them to be strong spiritually and well-equipped to utilize their gifts. But to achieve that, you’ve got to have a well-rounded approach to volunteer development. So, with that in mind, here are three key areas to consider when you’re thinking about what to develop when developing your volunteers.


It may seem obvious, but really, the first thing that you want (and need) in a volunteer is someone who is actively pursuing growth in their walk with God. Spiritual development has got to be priority #1 when you’re working on developing your volunteers.

As such, you’ll want to be providing spiritual development resources to your volunteers. Perhaps a Bible reading plan for your volunteers is something to consider. Providing articles and resources to help them in developing their prayer life may be helpful as well. Providing them with a mechanism for spiritual accountability could also be key. The big thing, though, is ensuring your volunteers are well supported in their walk with God.


The second thing to consider in the development of your volunteers is providing them with the resources to develop in their role as a leader. General leadership development is an investment that will pay big dividends for your ministry. If your ministry is staffed by strong leaders who are being empowered to lead in their particular area, then your students will only benefit from it.

This means providing them with articles and resources on good leadership principles. It means providing training in areas specific to ministry leadership. It means empowering your volunteers to actually lead in the area of the ministry that God has called them to. As you do this, your role may change. But it will put you in a position where things can move much more efficiently and effectively.


Finally, when considering what to develop when developing your volunteers, you want to focus attention on helping them develop in their unique areas of giftedness. People are gifted in a variety of ways, and ministries function at their best when people are empowered to grow in their God-given areas of giftedness.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes the Church as one body with many members; each with specific gifts and specific purpose. Part of the role of the church leader is to help the many members of the body to use their gifts to perform their function. Helping your volunteers to learn how their gifted, and then how to use those gifts is helping them to be the unique part of the body that God has made them to be.


While the analogy isn’t perfect, all of us want our ministries functioning like a well-oiled machine. This rarely happens in ministry, but it’s still something to shoot for. If we work to empower our volunteers spiritual, in leadership, and in their areas of giftedness, our ministries will only benefit. People who are growing in the Lord and understand (and are growing in) their role are always going to serve more effectively. While your ministry may not be a well-oiled machine, developing your leaders in these three areas will help them and your ministry become much more effective. And through those efforts, your students will receive more from the well-rounded volunteers that God has called to serve in your ministry.

MATT LARKIN serves as the Director of the Department of Student & Family Ministries for the Advent Christian General Conference (WWW.ACGC.US). In that role, he serves as a resource and consultant to youth workers and college students around the United States and globally. You can connect with Matt on Twitter via @MATTWLARKIN.


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.