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Volunteers suck…literally. They’re draining. Sometimes they suck the life right out of me. Wouldn’t it just be easier to do this all myself?

NO WAY!! Are you kidding me? Volunteers are what make ministries run…and I don’t just mean the ‘nuts and bolts’ stuff paid people hate doing (like buying 78 cans of Silly String at four different Wal-Marts, or making 112 sandwiches for the next youth event – 64 of which won’t be eaten because they are pimento cheese!) I’m talking ‘nuts and bolts’ that matter over the Kingdom long haul.

I’m talking about ‘nuts and bolts’ for kids like Ashton—who connects with Lydia (her small group leader) in a way she could never connect to the youth pastor. I’m talking about Danny, who speaks fluent Klingon….and Rick, our tech guy, who understands it! I’m talking about Daphne, who calls me four times the week she is lead teaching because she wants to make sure she has all her biblical facts straights.

Draining—and yet, in a strange way, energizing. That’s what youth ministry is all about. Equipping the saints to do the work of God in the lives of students. So even though Lydia has missed a few more leaders meetings than I prefer, she’s connecting with Ashton in a ‘ministry’ kind of way. Even though Rick is a little weird and I don’t speak Klingon, he’s meeting Kingdom need with Danny. Even though Daphne is a little high strung and anal retentive for my taste, she takes her role as a Bible teacher very seriously!

Volunteers may suck, but what a way to be drained…investing in Kingdom work that doesn’t return void, that duplicates my influence in ministry, and that equips students to make Kingdom impact because of the adults that influence them!

So schedule your next leaders meeting and learn the Klingon greeting (minus the biting). Continue to encourage Lydia to be there. And have Daphne’s material ready for her…even if it’s three months in advance! That’s ministry that matters!

Darren is a veteran youth pastor in Corpus Christi, TX, and co-hosts a weekly podcast for parents of teenagers (http://www.facebook.com/mipodcast) with his wife, Katie.

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