As youth pastors, we have the responsibility of helping our students grow in a closer relationship with Christ. One of the best ways that I have come up with, is to trust my volunteers to take the lead on activities, such as games, lessons, planning, etc. Many times, I feel that it can be easy just to do all the normal things myself instead of recruiting more volunteers, or trying to find someone to take the place of another person on a Sunday morning. In the end, I know having volunteers take the lead is critical and substantial to our ministry and here is why:
- They are challenged. Sometimes, as youth pastors, we can think that we need volunteers to control numbers instead of being pushed. The times that our leaders feel that they get the most out of a lesson is when they are the ones teaching and leading. For me, I don’t want to ruin what is helping them continue to grow and develop in their personal ministry at our church.
- I don’t want to be the only voice. To me, this is very critical. I don’t want to be the only voice to teens, because some teens relate better to a personality that is different than mine. One example I have is that I love sports, video games, super heroes, and the great outdoors. Not every time can I relate to all the students in a lesson. On the other hand, we have a leader that has a different personality than mine. She teaches and relates her lessons differently with mine through current events, history, and school (she retired as a principal). We have other leaders that teach in a rotation because I don’t want to be the only voice that students learn, when some would learn more from someone else.
- They are involved because they are passionate about the youth. The people who volunteer to be a leader are there because they want to see students growing in their relationship with Christ. You can hand over responsibility to them that will free time up for and give them something extra for their leadership in the ministry to make their own. I am not the best, per say, with being creative. A successful VBS usually has some creative aspect to it. Since I know I am not that creative, I have two leaders who voluntarily came up to me and say they would love to be a part of the planning of the VBS. It is nice for me to sit back and let them do what their passionate about, while I can work on other aspects of the VBS that I am passionate about. They love it, I love it, and VBS is going to be much better because of it. Volunteer leaders want to be challenged and not feel that they are another body.
- You can’t do it alone. Successful youth ministry cannot be done alone. In Exodus 18, Jethro visits Moses and tells him pretty much that he is going to burn out quickly if he tries to do everything himself. I think that is very relevant for us today, as youth pastors. We can attempt to try and take on every leadership aspect in the ministry and eventually get tired and burned out, or, for our sanity and lasting for the long haul, we can pass on some leadership to our volunteer leaders who may be more passionate or skillful in an area than we are in a given area. This not only helps you, but helps the overall ministry in general. There is nothing wrong with giving away leadership and in my opinion, it must happen if we expect to grow.
Volunteer taking over some aspect of leadership is a good thing. It is scary and can be nerve wrecking, but the fruits that can grow is tremendous! I love getting to see volunteers in our church take on leadership and seeing them grow through it.