…and I don’t mean parents. I’m talking grandparents, the old ladies in the women’s group, the crotchety dudes who grumble when students wear hats in the Sanctuary. The answer to the title question? Of course they do!
Can you believe that I STILL run into YP’s who say their counselors really shouldn’t be older than college-age? I consult with search committees who still describe their perfect youth pastor as a guitar-playing, b-ball throwing, surfboard-skimming, young married dude whose wife will also serve FT in the YM (for free, of course).
So as we’re all recruiting volunteers for the new school/youth ministry year, do yourself (and your students) a big favor: start with older people in your church. The secret? Ask them the right questions. Put them in the places they feel comfortable, where they can use their giftedness. Oftentimes, we frighten off potential older volunteers (who have time available and are WAY more dependable than many other vols) by our approach: too fast, too quickly asked, too confusing, too big, etc.
Older people can do more than just bring cookies. Here’s a list of volunteer roles older folks can fulfill in your YM:
1) Closet Coordinator: Every youth room has a supply closet that needs a mom’s touch.
2) Weekly Supply Organizer: Get your SS teachers s what they need by having a team get the SS rooms ready.
3) Garage Sale Gurus: Have a list of upcoming supplies/props the YM will need and put these folks on the hunt.
4) Prayer Partners: Have each student in your YM prayed for daily by an older person.
5) Divine Design: Your youth room is a MESS! Have someone come in once a month and straighten it up!
6) Data Divas: Many older folks are computer savvy. Have them keep your student data/attendance up-to-date.
7) Craft Coordinators: There is a segment of your students who are the creative, artsy, crafty type and someone to teach crochet (or whatever) would be cool.
8) Paperwork Police: Yeah, why not lesson the chaos for the adult chaperones at events or when leaving on a trip by bringing in a few folks to collect the paperwork? Can’t hire an admin? Schedule older vols for a few hours each day.
9) Who-knows-who: Older folks know a lot of people and they know others in your church that can help with what you need. Put them on your recruiting team.
10) ADULT COUNSELORS!: Of course older people can be a part of your team in face-to-faith ministry with students. The best way I can share this precept is from a friend of mine, Amanda Berger, who is the president of a ministry to girls called Soul Sisterhood. She runs “girls only” camp weeks and for the last 2 years, she brought a Camp Grandma on staff and has had HUGE positive results. You’ll hear from her on a few days and then a few days after that? You’ll hear from the Camp Grandma herself. Stay tuned.