Too Many Volunteers? Try This!
10) Jettison Job descriptions
Do not have a written job description for the position. Keep the volunteer in the dark about what their role is and as to the duration of that role. Speak only in vague generalities about the part they play in the program and how that relates to the big picture.
9) Cancel Communication
Keep yearly plans secret. Better yet, live week to week with no discernable direction. Dodge helpful conversations before and after ministry events. Avoid tedious consistent office hours and don’t return phone messages or e-mails. When you do have a need, call an hour before it is needed and pressure the volunteer to come through “for the kids”.
8) Pass on Perks
Avoid perks at all cost! Do not treat your volunteer staff to costly training events led by veterans who have years of experience. Do not have holiday gatherings or give gifts of appreciation. By all means, do not under any circumstances provide childcare during your event. Always make them pay full price when assisting with camps and trips.
7) Exude Expertise
Be an expert. Adopt the role of a “Queen Bee”. Make sure that your volunteers hover around you like worker bees ready to act on your behalf in a moments notice. Make yourself the focus of the ministry and not the needs of the youth. Don’t forget to recruit emotionally needy adults who can’t do it without you. This makes you feel great!
6) Avoid Advice
Never ever ask their opinion about the ministry. When advice is given dismiss it with humor or sarcasm. Avoid the appearance of needing advice by confidently making snap decisions. If you sense impending dialogue, feign a cell phone call. This works every time!
5) Trip up Trust
Hover over your volunteers while they work. Critique them often. Ask prodding questions about why they did this or that. Remind them often that you would have pursued a different course.
4) Prance past Praise
Never praise the work of a volunteer. Always keep in mind that good volunteers do not need pats on the back; after all, they are “working for the Lord and not men”. Focus on their weaknesses and don’t be afraid to share them often. This keeps them humble.
3) Need for Speed
Roll from one ministry event to another. Do not evaluate ministry effectiveness. You haven’t got time to do that and it only encourages #6. Keep a frantic ministry pace. There is so much to do and so little time to do it!
2) Play Pals
Develop a set of favorite volunteers. Treat new volunteers as silly rookies. Talk and laugh often about the “old times” by recalling funny stories that happened before the new volunteers arrived. If possible make it very difficult or nearly impossible for new volunteers to transition into the ministry. Minimize the impact of the new volunteers by talking about how great the old volunteers were.
1) Punt on Prayer
Never pray for your volunteers. By no means ever, ever fast and pray for them. This alone could lead to effectiveness and ministry satisfaction which could negatively effect #7. Embrace the barrenness of a ministry lacking prayer.
I’m confident that if you follow this top-ten list you will reap the rewards. You will soon find yourself happily entrenched in a myopic, floundering ministry. Lord knows we need more of that!
TONY AKERS has been in ministry to youth and families in large and small churches for three decades. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and just entered his 14th year in ministry at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama where he serves as the Director of Disciple Life. Tony is also a youth ministry coach and writes fairly frequently at WWW.STUDENTMINISTRYSOLUTIONS.COM
This post was previously published by STUDENTMINISTRYSOLUTIONS.COM.
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.