You know you’ve done this before.
The mission trip is in one week and your adult to student ratio is dangerously high. So, you do what any youth minister who forgot to hustle months before does: you make the general announcement.
Now general announcements aren’t bad really. In fact, I know some churches that if it isn’t said from the pulpit on Sunday morning, it didn’t happen (or won’t happen in the future). Never mind the newsletter, website, twitter account, announcement slide, handout, and two separate emails. No Sunday morning pulpit announcement? It’s not going on at church.
The problem with the general announcement for adult volunteers to help support the student ministry is that it says that anyone can play, and that just can’t be.
Case in point.
I needed a driver for a trip BADLY. And to make things more interesting, according to our church policies, I was too young to drive any vehicle with students in it. Awesome. So I called the four people who could drive the giant church bus. A month before we were supposed to go on the week long trip.
One month out.
Most employers won’t even give vacation time if it’s asked a month out.
But fortunately, the fifth driver I called was retired. And yes, that’s correct math. Our church had four drivers. Two of which most of the time did the driving. Both of which couldn’t. Neither could the other two church members. Leaving me to outsource, not just the driving, but the chaperoning, to a man who was a friend of someone in our church.
Do you see the potential issue here?
The all call from the pulpit is a bad way to get volunteers for student ministry. You don’t want those who are only willing. You want adults who love students, love Jesus, and are fantastic volunteers.
When you make the pulpit announcement, you’ll get whoever says they have a free week.
Instead of hoping that adult volunteers will fall into your lap, make sure you’re hustling 6 months out to get your chaperones and leaders in place.
Not only could the consequences be that your driver doesn’t really enjoy students (at all), but you could run into some bigger issues that I’ll discuss later.
Get your chaperones in line a good 6 months out.
What have been your week long trip volunteer horror stories?