When it comes to youth ministry, different people volunteer for different reasons. Some volunteer because they want to help you out, and it has nothing to with a specific calling or sweet spot. Others volunteer because they have a heart specifically for teenagers and a calling to youth ministry. Both groups of people make great volunteers, but each group is motivated differently. So when it comes to igniting passion, multiple methods are needed. What works for some of your volunteers may not work for all.
Here are a few things you can do to ignite passion into your volunteers:
Help Volunteers Remember The Mission – Often times, with the hustle of projects and events, the mission can get lost. Volunteers can forget the reason why they are there. So take the time to share your passion for the mission in which they once had.
Story Time With Your Volunteers – Instead of kickstarting the next event/adventure right away, take the time to debrief and share stories with your volunteers. Let them share stories with each other. It’s like a someone chopping down a tree with an ax. What motivates them to continue chopping the tree is seeing the ax making a difference. So don’t just debrief what worked and what didn’t. Have story time.
Allow Volunteers To Evaluate – Any time I meet with a leader, I’m always asking what can we do better. Now, some may steer clear of this because they don’t want to hear the negative. But it’s actually just a time to learn and grow as a leader and ministry. Also, you increase your volunteers’ buy-in to the ministry. I see it this way…if you receive their praise and even use it for promoting things, then how about receive and use their criticism to make things better. At the same time, you’re giving them ownership because you listened.
Prayer And Worship Night With Your Volunteers – It’s great to have fun and stuff, with your volunteers, but nothing brings you all closer and sets you all on the same course full of passion, like calling on the Holy Spirit together with one voice. I believe one of the symptoms that indicate we’ve moved away from relying on the Holy Spirit is that our passion begins to fade. Try adding a few of these to the calendar.
Celebrate Your Volunteers – You don’t need a budget to celebrate your volunteers. A handwritten note from the heart sharing your gratitude, and appreciation has the ability to ignite passion within your volunteers. Some people just want to be appreciated and needed. Saying thanks communicates both.
Invest In Your Volunteers – Simply One Day youth ministry training is coming to Saddleback Church, and we’ve opened it up to our volunteers as another way to show them what they do matters. Sometimes learning something new can ignite their passion, because they feel they are constantly growing and doing a good job with their responsibilities.
Great leaders know the climate of their volunteers. Igniting the passion within your volunteers is not something you do once. It’s something you facilitate in a variety of ways.
Hope it helps,
P.S. – Simply Youth Ministry offers great resources for recruiting and equipping your youth ministry volunteers!