My wife, Rachel, doesn’t like to give me a Christmas list. (I’m sitting in Starbucks drinking some sort of holiday themed drink, which serves to remind me that Christmas is just around the corner!) Instead, around this time each year, she expects me to be listening to her cues and “reading between the lines” to decipher things she’d like under the tree. It would be easier if she simply wrote down her expectations, handed them to me and trusted me to deliver the goods. But it never works that way.
If you lead a youth ministry team, your volunteer leaders need a few gifts from you. They probably won’t tell you what they are, and they certainly won’t jot them on a piece of paper, hand them to you and trust you to deliver the goods. But they want a few gifts, nevertheless. So, since Christmas shopping season is about to begin, I thought I’d share three gifts you can give every volunteer on your team:
The Gift of Your Availability
How available are you to your volunteer leaders? How quickly do you return texts, phone calls and emails? How free do they feel to drop by your church office? When you find time for them, do they get the impression that you are truly present or that your mind is drifting to a far off place….the place you need to get to next? I know your time is precious, but making yourself available to the men and women who are in the trenches alongside you is a gift you can’t afford not to give.
The Gift of Your Encouragement
I’ve never met a volunteer youth leader whose encouragement tank is full. Usually they are running on empty, running behind, and running from one task to the next hoping they are doing a good job. A well-timed word of encouragement or hand-written note does wonders for the weary youth worker’s soul! Give this gift in abundance.
The Gift of Your Trust
Your youth ministry will only grow to the extent you are willing to give it away. But giving youth ministry away requires you to trust your volunteer team. Trust them to make some decisions. Trust them to run an event or two without you. Trust them to write next month’s curriculum. When you give your leaders your trust, you get to focus on other areas and they get to stretch their wings. It’s a win-win!
Your volunteer leaders will probably never hand you a list that says, “this is what we want”, but this is a start. Now, add one or two of your own….and deliver the goods!