10 Ways to Love Your Volunteers

Think about it.

If you had to pay your volunteers you couldn’t afford them. If you want them to stay on with you they have to feel loved. Saying the words isn’t enough. Here are 10 quick ways to love your volunteers!

1. Feed Them

This is so obvious but it gets missed. If they show up to help before supper , work through and only get the snack that the students get some time during the evening you are not meeting their needs. Either ask them to come after dinner or make sure you have something for them to eat.

2. Give them all the training they need.

It may not feel like love but helping them to know what they are doing will give them a sense of well being that feels like love. Asking people to do things that they have never been trained to do will feel like the opposite of love. It feels like punishment. Make sure that none of your volunteers are drowing

3. Give them Recognition

They don’t serve to be noticed but if you don’t notice what they do they are not feeling the love. Recognition takes so little time but means so much. Never take them for granted. Any time you can make sure they get noticed. This could be in front to the whole church, the youth ministry, or other volunteers. Make sure that others know what a great job they are doing.

4. Give Them a Guilt Free Break

Wouldn’t you love it if your supervisor told you, “I don’t want to see you at church this weekend. Here is the key to my cottage and the directions. The fridge and pantry are stocked. Don’t bring a thing. I just really appreciate all that you are doing here!” Now think of your volunteers. You may not give them an all expense paid get-away but you can at least tell them that they can have the weekend off.

5. Give them Your Undivided Attention

We all know that we are supposed to listen to God. Did you know you are supposed to listen to your volunteers? So often volunteers complain that they can’t get a minute of the youth pastor’s time. Don’t be that guy or gal!! Make time where you can get group feed back from leaders. Also arrange to here from individuals about how they feel about the ministry, how they feel about their role, and what they feel God is doing in their life.

6. Give them feedback.

Deep down every volunteer feels like that are not doing enough or that they are doing a poor job. Regular feedback will let them know where they stand. Affirm them when they are doing well and help them when they aren’t doing as well. They’d rather hear about where they can improve than get know feedback at all

7. Show Your Concern

You’ve probably heard the old saying that “the church is the only army that shoots its wounded.” We need to know and get involved when a volunteer is going through a hard time. They may even be struggling with a habit or a sin. We need to step in with counsel and forgiveness. Model the kind of behavior you want them to have with students

8. Don’t Make Them Pay –for anything

Some groups make their volunteers pay for training events, retreats, conferences, and youth nights. If there is anyway possible don’t make them pay even if they can easily afford it. If they want to give money to the group that is great. Just don’t get their money this way. They are already giving their time for free. Find ways to cover their costs.

9. Challenge Them

When volunteers have a grasp of running a small group, contacting each of their students every week, and helping out with your program where they see a need, it is probably time to challenge them. This should never make them feel that they are not doing enough but it should communicate that you believe in them! You could challenge them to mentor another volunteer, to run an activity, to speak at an event, or to a presentation to other volunteers.

10. Over Communicate

You may think everyone got the message. Never assume that. Instead work with the idea that if you do not tell your volunteers what is going on each week and what is required of them they do not have a clue. “But they can check the website!” you could object. Sure they could but if they are contributing so much to your group don’t they deserve the personal touch?

Love your Volunteers

Even the inconsistent volunteers deserve your love. The faithful one’s also need your love. They will care for the students as much as you care for them. Some may not be feeling it lately. Take some time to think about how you can show them that you really appreciate them.

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Ron Powell


Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email ron.powell@vanguardcollege.com