There’s no doubt that student ministry as we know it is undergoing a huge shift, and with that we must shift the way we train our volunteers. For many of us, training consists of pulling teeth to find a time that your volunteers can all come together and then cramming years worth of material into their brains in a matter of a couple hours, and by the end of the training our volunteers walk out of the room with their heads spinning a million miles an hour. Is this really the most effective way to train the people that are pouring into our students? I would argue that it’s not.
We live in a bite-sized world. We want everything quick and easy to digest, so why don’t our trainings follow the same methodology? Why not take your most relevant training topics and create bite-sized videos that you can upload to the Web along with a worksheet for your volunteers to watch and follow along with on their own time? With Web sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, uploading a video has never been easier. So instead of forcing your volunteers to give up another night of the week every few months, try having them commit to 10 minutes of training a month via the Web. Over the course of the year, you will have still given them 2 hours worth of training, only it’s coming in much easier to digest portions. Most people don’t want to give up an entire night but almost everyone can spare 10 minutes a month. This approach allows your training to be an ongoing event, not just a one-time shot. Want to make it more interactive?
Try posting a discussion board for your volunteers on your blog so they can dialogue back and forth about the topic. Don’t have a blog? Try using a Facebook page and posting thoughts on the wall. The possibilities are endless. Need some suggestions on topics for training? Youth Leader Training on the Go by Doug Fields is a great place to start.