student ministry, youth worker, youth ministry

Turning Volunteers into Leaders

By Doug Franklin September 27, 2011

Having good adult volunteers in our youth ministry makes all the difference. It’s a great feeling when you have a few people that “get it” and can come along side of you and make an impact in students’ lives. You feel so blessed when you see them disciplining and mentoring students. But what if there was more? Now I know your thinking, Doug come on, just to get a few “get its” took years now you want me to believe there is more? Yes, I believe there is more and I believe that it might be easier than you think to take your “get its” too the next level; the level of youth ministry leader.

Having a few good volunteers is nice but what would it mean for your ministry if you had 3 new leaders; people who were willing to own a piece of the ministry; nurture it and grow it like you have and do it based on the mission that God has given you.  The key is to discover their passion first then match it with their strength. Let me give you some action steps to make this happen.

1.    Passion Discovery
Passion is what you love to do; it’s what gets you up in the morning. It’s what you’re doing when you feel God smiling down on you (to steal a line from Chariots of Fire). It’s closely tied to your burden but it’s a little different. While your burden might be students your passion could easily be discipleship or evangelism or maybe hospitality. LeaderTreks offers a free downloadable passion survey in Free Downloads on our website at www.leadertreks.com. This is an important step because people will lead when they feel passionate about the activity. Think about for yourself where do you lead and feel satisfaction? I bet it’s an arena of passion for you.

2.    Strengths Match
Now match their strength to their arena of passion. The common mistake we make as ministry leaders is to place people in roles where the ministry is crumbling; this only leads to failure. We need to place people by their strengths this leads to success and satisfaction. Buy the book Strength Finders 2.0 for the people on your staff that you want to see move to the next level. After reading the book and taking the assessment (comes with the book) help your adults identify how they can lead using their strength in their arena of passion. What if you don’t need a person in that area of the ministry. My advice is still place them there and delegate to them the leadership and ownership of that aspect of the ministry. Why? Because that area of the ministry will grow like never before under their leadership and you can put your efforts in another area of the ministry.

Warning: You can’t make leaders for the area of ministry you don’t want to do. You have to develop leaders by using passion discover and strength match. This will ensure the best leaders who will stay the longest and have the most 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