3 must have interview questions for potential volunteers

3 Must-Have Interview Questions for Potential Volunteers

By Doug Franklin November 9, 2018

Lots of people appear interested in whether the youth ministry is successful or not, but few of them seem to want to volunteer. When we find people who are interested and want to volunteer, we can be quick to overlook any red flags and immediately make them a small group leader.

Most adult volunteers are a gift from God, but honestly ask yourself: do we really want everyone who applies to be on the team? Some of you are saying, “Yes we do. We will take anyone who loves students, loves God, and is breathing.”

“I know we all have a great need for adult volunteers in our ministries, but the wrong volunteer can cost you more than you think.”

I know we all have a great need for adult volunteers in our ministries, but the wrong volunteer can cost you more than you think.

Remember: your biggest problems in youth ministry will always be people problems. The wrong volunteer can eat up all your time, cause you sleepless nights, and cost you your ministry. (If you find yourself in that situation, you might be interested our blog post about Toxic Volunteers.)

The key is to spend time with a potential volunteer before activating them for ministry. There are many ways to do this. You could have them shadow another volunteer for a month before officially joining the team. You could get references from people who have served with them in church before. At the very least, you should do what most churches do and put them through a thorough interview.

For this interview, develop an intentional agenda for every potential volunteer before they begin; and start by being skeptical. Remember, your job is to protect students as well as help them grow spiritually. Your mindset can’t be, “I’m going to help this person get through this interview.” Your mindset must be, “Prove to me that your heart is set on serving students and their families.”

Here are 3 questions for the intentional interview:

  1. Do you have the courage to build a transformational relationship with a student? 

Most adult volunteers don’t know that building life-changing relationships with students is their job. They see themselves in a support role for the youth worker. These folks are great at helping with logistics, but they won’t move the spiritual depth of the ministry forward.

The real issue here is courage. Does this adult have the courage to get involved in the mess of a student’s life? Real courage is needed to make a difference in a student. Disciple makers have the courage to challenge, confront, and hold students accountable.

  1. Are you willing to partner with parents?

Youth ministry today needs to be done in partnership with parents. (See our Intentional Youth Ministry Model.) Long gone are the days of the hero adult volunteer who fixes every student they meet. Adult volunteers need to see themselves as extensions of the parents’ ministry. This means they must set aside time to meet with parents and make an effort to be on the same page. Would your potential volunteer be willing to put in the extra time to come alongside the parents, even if those parents aren’t following Jesus?

  1. Are you willing to follow my leadership? 

Adult volunteers must realize they are part of a team, a team that needs to work together to reach its ministry goals. At this point, the lead youth worker needs to cast their vision to the potential volunteer. Let them know what they are joining. Is the potential volunteer willing to join the vision of the lead youth worker?

Having a “yes” to this question can help in the years to come. If this adult volunteer goes rogue, you can sit with them and ask this same question again to repeat the importance of everyone being on the same page.

Well-planned, intentional interviews help us avoid minefields. Remember, saying no is not the worst thing in the world. It means you value students and the other team members. This interview is not a cumbersome hoop to jump through, it’s a key to developing a great ministry team.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More