I’ve often been asked what makes a good junior high volunteer. And the truth is I have often asked myself the very same question. If you’re like me you have probably had a few experiences where a volunteer you thought would be a great addition to your team turned out to be anything but. To pretend there is some perfect application and interview process or an ideal set of questions to ask a potential volunteer that will guarantee a good fit in your ministry is unrealistic. There simply isn’t a formula for finding the right volunteers because adults are messy, junior higher are messy and blending the two together is messy, messy, messy!

But I do have three questions that I think are a good starting point when thinking about a potential adult leader. Again, no magic formula….just a launching pad as you prayerfully add adults to your junior high team.

DOES THIS PERSON LIKE JUNIOR HIGHERS? Lots of adults in your church “Love” junior highers…they have to after all because they are mature Christians and they know they are supposed to love everybody. But actually liking young teens? That’s not as easy to find! I think a fundamental requirement for a junior high volunteer is that they actually like junior highers. They like that they are immature. They like that they are emotional roller coasters. Lots of adults will tolerate junior high students, very few actually like them.

DOES THIS PERSON HAVE SOME SPIRITUAL DEPTH? One of my pet peeves about the local church is that we have a tendency to view junior high ministry as the perfect place for a volunteer leader to “Cut his/her teeth”, and often are willing to let just about anybody serve in junior high ministry. Because junior highers are in the midst of incredible developmental (intellectual, physical, emotional, social and spiritual) changes it is really important to consider the spiritual maturity of the adults we allow them to interact with at a significant level.

DOES THIS PERSON TRUST OUR MINISTRY AND ARE THEY WILLING TO FOLLOW MY LEADERSHIP? I’m sure you really, really need volunteers in your ministry. But you don’t need parents involved who don’t trust your ministry and want to keep an eye on you. You don’t need parents who don’t trust their kids and want to keep an eye on them. You don’t adults with their own set of agendas, priorities and notions about what your ministry should be doing. What you need is a team of caring adults who like junior higher, who have some spiritual depth and who trusts your ministry and wants to support you as you prayerfully lead your ministry.

I’m sure the possibility exists that a potential volunteer could score a “Yes” answer to all three of these questions and still turn out to be a poor fit in your ministry….like I said, it’s messy stuff. But, I’ve found that these questions have served me well over the years. I hope they do the same for you.

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