youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, encouragement

Encouraging Your Adult Volunteers

By Doug Franklin May 6, 2013

The ministry year is coming to an end. Small groups are winding down and it’s time to say thank-you to our faithful volunteers. Many of us will throw thank-you parties or give a small gift, which are very nice things to do. Will these gestures really communicate the appreciation you feel? I believe the best way to encourage our volunteers is to sit down with them one-on-one and share with them what you see as their strength and how it helped the ministry. Be specific and share how their actions made transformational change happen in students’ lives. This one-on-one time is valuable and hard to find but it will speak volumes about how you feel about them. Also you taking the time to think through how they have made a difference will also communicate your commitment to them.

Very few ministry leaders take the time to thank people personally. This will grow your leadership and your influence. Who is going to want to leave a ministry where the leader tells you what you’re great at? In fact your volunteers will tell others about the youth ministry and invite them to join.

Encouragement also has another power. When a person receives encouragement about their strengths it tends to make them think about ways they can continue to use their gifts. They may want more leadership and may even consider moving from volunteer to full-time staff. Every time I have taken the time to share personally with a volunteer great things have happened. It takes time but it’s powerful.

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