3 Tips to Leading Volunteers

When I came to youth ministry, I figured I would be doing lots of pizza parties, lock-ins (which I’m not a fan of), and drinking Mountain Dew all day in the office. One thing that I had no idea I would be doing is leading volunteers. I had heard one time from a youth veteran that the more ministry we give away to our volunteers, the more the ministry can grow. I believe this is true, but it takes incredible leadership from the youth worker to lead volunteers to that capacity. Here are some tips and tricks to help you lead your volunteers to their potential.

Lead with confidence

The leaders in your specific ministry want someone who can lead and lead successfully. To be the leader your volunteers need and who God is calling you to be, you need to be confident. God’s given you a vision for your ministry, so you and I need to take that on and spread it to our volunteers. As you walk by, your volunteers should feel the positive vibrations of your leadership. When a volunteer asks why a certain ministry exists, we should be able to have a straight up answer that supplies their bucket. We need to give them an answer that shows them the why our youth ministry exists. To lead in confidence, we need to trust ourselves and the direction that God is leading us and communicate that to your leaders.

Be with them

One of the best ways to influence volunteers is just by being with them. Be their friend. While they help the youth ministry, they are also a person outside of being a volunteer. Get to know them. There are so many possibilities for this. I do my best to go for a meal a week with a volunteer. When I attend special events, I try to find leaders I can sit with. These are two simple ways to get to know a volunteer’s story. It also allows them to know your story. This is the best way of retaining your volunteers, which is one of the goals of having a great volunteer team. Like Jesus, we need to live life with those we lead.

Pass the baton

Passing the baton does not mean leaving your job so a volunteer can take over, but it does mean giving up our leadership. We need to develop volunteers who can take over. Out of a four-week series, you may teach two weeks and then have two of your leaders do the other weeks. You may also give the leadership of game time up to a leader who is a coach at the local high school. You may give administration aspects of youth ministry over to a leader who runs a business. There are so many aspects of youth ministry you can pass to volunteers. This helps free your time to lead where your best and also allows for the weaknesses of your youth ministry skills to be taken over by leaders in our ministry who are more effective. The youth ministry overall then benefits tremendously. It also allows for the ministry to grow to the potential that God can take it to be!

Leadership is a tricky but important thing. Especially, when it comes to leading volunteers. Continue to lead your volunteers and be intentional about be the best leader God is calling you to be!


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