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The Volunteer Cycle #2: ENLIST

In case you missed the first in The Volunteer Cycle series, check it out here: It Never Ends!

Youth ministry is a team sport.

There are no Lone Rangers in youth ministry.

Our job is to equip the saints for works of service.

Your ministry will only grow to the extent you are willing to give it away.

We all get it. I can’t think of the last time I ran across a youth worker who thought she could do it all alone; we know we need help.  But finding other men and women to join the cause isn’t easy. It’s a painstaking part of leading a youth ministry; but it may be the most important thing you do as a leader!

Remember, the volunteer process is a never-ending cycle and enlisting others is a never-ending endeavor. You will never be rid of it, so you may as well learn to enjoy it and become a master at the art.  Here are a few thoughts about getting other adults on board.

  • Enlisting is an ongoing event, not just seasonal. Most youth workers I know only focus on finding new volunteers when they are heading into certain ministry seasons. For example, they spend the summer finding small group leaders for the fall and once they have enough, they take a breather. Instead, view the task of finding new leaders an ongoing, around the clock, opportunity. As the leader of your ministry, you should always be wearing your “We need more leaders” hat!
  • Master a compelling 2-minute elevator pitch. It’s impossible for me to count how many times I’ve been in line at Starbucks or in an aisle at Target or strolling the church property on a Sunday when an unexpected, and very brief, opportunity to talk about our youth ministry presents itself.  The Barista, who attends our church, comments that he needs to jump back into ministry.  The parent, as she hustles to the children’s building to pick up her youngest, quips about today’s teenagers needing more role models.   In those moments, I’m so thankful I can quickly and confidently “pitch” being involved in our youth ministry as a potential way for them to serve the church.  I’m constantly giving people my youth ministry elevator pitch, and I’m still surprised at how often it leads to a deeper conversation about youth ministry.
  • Ask you satisfied customers to share the word. Almost every successful company relies on “raving fans”; men and women who are deeply satisfied with the product and can’t help but share the love.  You and me are paid salesmen; it’s our job to pitch the “product”. And as a result, our enlistment efforts are often easily brushed off. But it’s hard to argue with a raving fan; a satisfied customer.  Find key leaders in your ministry who are raving fans and deputize them to be part of the enlisting process. Ask teenagers in your youth group who are raving fans to give you the names of adults they know who might be good volunteers in the ministry…or better yet, ask the teenagers themselves to make the ask!
  • Put lots of hooks in the water. Most youth workers dismiss things like putting an announcement in the bulletin, having an announcement from the pulpit or participating in the church-wide ministry fair. Why, they ask, would we want to open ourselves up to the headache of sorting through a bunch of applicants that aren’t qualified in order to find one or two who are?  Because you might find one or two who are!  The more hooks you have in the water, the higher your odds of getting a bite. Sure, you may have to throw a few back, but you may also find a keeper.

Remember,

Youth ministry is a team sport.

There are no Lone Rangers in youth ministry.

Our job is to equip the saints for works of service.

Your ministry will only grow to the extent you are willing to give it away.

– Kurt

4 thoughts on “The Volunteer Cycle #2: ENLIST

  1. Avatar

    Great post Kurt. Can you give me a sample of your 2 min elevator speech? Would like to get some ideas so I can master mine.

  2. Avatar

    Tony,
    My elevator pitch would likely vary depending on setting, but here are a couple super short pitches:

    “Our youth ministry is trying to help teenagers become exposed to, experience and express Jesus Christ in some life changing ways. We are always looking for adults who want to be part of helping that happen, and word on the street is that you would be perfect!”

    “Some of the teenagers in our youth group gave me your name as somebody they think would be a great leader! We are always looking for men and women to help us lead small groups, help out at mid-week and mentor teenagers. If any of that sounds interesting to you, let me know!”

    “Did you know that a primary reason so many teenagers walk away from church after they graduate from high school is because they don’t feel connected to the adults in church? Our youth ministry has all sorts of ways somebody like you can plug in and get to know our students! Interested?”

    “I’m not letting you off this elevator until you agree to be a 7th grade cabin leader at summer camp.”

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The Volunteer Cycle #2: ENLIST

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