Why Volunteers Leave
Year in and year out we are looking for quality volunteers. We get excited when a couple who loves students joins our team and we hate it when volunteers leave the ministry. So why do volunteers leave youth ministry? They often leave for the following reasons:
Youth staff leave when they don’t have a personal connection to the leader. This is why its so important for us in leadership to minister to the volunteers. We can’t just think of them as worker bees. Not only should we be friends with our volunteers, I think it’s important to help them grow spiritually. They are pouring their lives into students so it makes sense that we should pour our lives into theirs.
2. Misunderstood Mission
Adult volunteers who think their job is to enforce the rules don’t understand the mission of the youth ministry. They think we are not doing our jobs when students are able to “do whatever they want” so they become frustrated they are the only ones enforcing the rules. Be sure to make the mission of youth ministry clear; train and equip your volunteers to love students, care for their needs and to challenge them to obey God’s word.
3. Serving The Wrong Person
I love to ask volunteer, “who do you serve?” The answer is always interesting. I often hear, “I am here to serve the youth pastor.” I ask that same questions of youth workers and they think the volunteers are there to serve the students. Big disconnect. We have to help our volunteers understand we want them to build relationships with students that will lead to changed lives. We can get frustrated with volunteers when they never talk with students or never ask students any questions. That frustration is obvious and the volunteers think they have done something wrong. So they work harder to serve you and you become more frustrated. Soon we all dislike each other. Be clear with your adults about your expectations. Train them on how to build relationships. When you’re on the same page, your adult volunteers will stay.
About the Author
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