youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, volunteer

Making Volunteers Feel Valuable

By Doug Franklin June 20, 2012

Volunteer staff need to feel like winners.  They need to feel invaluable in your eyes and the eyes of the students.  There are several different ways you can accomplish this, but here are just a couple of suggestions:

1.    Choose games that allow the volunteers to provide the vital part needed for success.

Here are three great ideas:

Taste Test: Create a list of 20-30 options and include crazy ones that only the adults would know. Example: For soda tests  include RC Cola, Tab, Diet Rite, etc.

Top 10 Songs from the 80’s: Play short clips from songs and have teams guess the songs. The staff will be the superstar for this game, and everyone will love the nostalgic stories.

Where am I?: Take video shots of yourself at the bank or the library, a grocery store or the courthouse, or any obscure         place around town. Staff generally know the answers because they are more aware of their environment compared to students.  It’s great to see students confused and amazed at places they didn’t know existed in their own town.

2.    Connect their ministry with their passion.
Find out what they enjoy and how they can best use their gifts.  Then structure their responsibilities accordingly.  Some ways to find out where they fit best is to give them a Spiritual Gift assessment or the DISC temperament assessment. It is wise to research how to analyze the results or find someone you know that can help you so the assessments can be applied.

One success story I know of this is when Steve was a new youth pastor, making his volunteer staff feel like winners in a role that they enjoyed was what made the difference for his ministry. One mom would only commit for one year, and she felt like she had to be the mean adult in the group.  When Steve helped her move past that self-assigned role to becoming the friend, she soared.  She was so encouraged by the change that she remained a committed volunteer for the duration of Steve’s ministry.

3.    Encourage your volunteers.
Show your support and appreciation in ways that will communicate to them how much you value their involvement in the ministry. You could send them encouragement notes, brag on them in front of the students or other church members, or even host an appreciation dinner for them. One of the best ways to encourage your staff is to invest in them. Spend quality time with volunteers and let them know you really care about them. Take them out for coffee and genuinely get to know them. Invest in giving them the tools needed for success.

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