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team roles, youth ministry job description, youth worker, adult volunteer

That’s not my job!

By Taryn Phiri February 19, 2018

Many well-intentioned ministries aren’t doing discipleship, and here’s why: they’re unclear about whose job it is to disciple students

Let me paint of picture for you of what I mean.

In this sort of ministry, the well-intentioned youth worker sees his volunteers as the primary-disciplers of students. After all, he knows that he can’t possibly reach every student in the ministry.

“It should give us cause for concern that despite good intentions, few of us are being intentional about discipleship.”

Meanwhile, well-intentioned volunteers operate with the belief that it’s the youth worker’s job to disciple students, while they provide logistical support. After all, the youth worker has received formal training in discipleship and is better equipped for such ministry.

The scenario reminds me of my days playing doubles on the high school tennis team. There was never a more embarrassing moment on the court than when the ball went straight between my partner and I, and neither of us had even reached for it. All we could do was stare at each other and exclaim, “I thought you had it!”

Dropping the ball in tennis is one thing, but dropping the ball in discipleship is another. It should give us cause for concern that despite good intentions, few of us are being intentional about discipleship.

Here are three suggestions to get past the “That’s not my job!” confusion and begin to move our ministries forward in discipleship.


As youth workers, we must clearly define the roles in our ministries. Our adult volunteers aren’t likely to disciple students until we ask them to. Consider providing a job description for every member of your team. Outline their responsibilities and your expectations. Make it clear what their interactions with students should look like, and give insight into how your role might differ. Defined roles will help eliminate the confusion of who does what.


A job description has little value, however, if it isn’t communicated. Remember, for many of our volunteers, we’re challenging how they’ve seen their purpose and role for years. Repetition of responsibilities is key their success and ours! Look for regular opportunities to cast vision for the potential impact of your volunteers and re-communicate your expectations regarding discipleship.


We’ve all been in jobs where our job description was rather useless. It looked great on paper, but it didn’t actually describe our day in and day out activities. Training can keep this same thing from happening with our adult volunteers. Training demonstrates that we’re serious about equipping volunteers for what’s ahead. It also gives adult volunteers confidence to step into the roles that they’ve been given. One of the most encouraging parts of my job is seeing the change in adult volunteers after they’ve received training. They’re more willing to pursue students, take risks, and make sacrifices for the overall good of the ministry.

To move your ministry forward, be sure to clearly define the role of each of your volunteers. Spend time communicating and re-communicating those expectations, and pair that job description with practical and timely training for your adult volunteers. With confusion out of the way, you’ll see your adult volunteers more boldly and confidently pursue students for the purpose of discipleship.

Looking for training ideas? See what LeaderTreks has to offer. 

About the Author

Taryn Phiri

Taryn Phiri grew up in various states across the East Coast and the Midwest, but now she and her husband, Jerry, are happy to call Glendale Heights, IL their home. After studying International Development at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, Taryn served at LeaderTreks for many years as a trip leader and training coordinator….  Read More