2 Things Guaranteed to Tick Off Your Volunteers

I am a volunteer.  I am no longer the Youth Pastor or the main contact person for a ministry in our church.  I volunteer.  This past year I co-led a grade 8 guys small group with one of my former youth.  It was a very rewarding experience.  I also led a young families small group in our church.

I love volunteering but I have learned a lot about what ticks off volunteers.  In the past I functioned as and thought as a youth pastor.  Now I am very aware of what youth pastors do that ticks off us volunteers.

Here are two of them:

1. Do Not Communicate EVERYTHING

When you are leading a youth ministry you live it.  It is what you think about and plan all day long.  You wonder what changes can take place to push the ministry to the next level.

This is great but it also causes a huge problem.

You have already thought about and communicated all of your ideas to a few key people so you get tired or lazy.  What happens is your volunteers get a very quick and unclear communication from you.

This is frustrating when you expect us to read your minds.  It is frustrating when you expect us to know all that you have been thinking and planning.

You must communicate to us often and thoroughly.  Weekly emails, monthly meetings and annual retreats are a must if you want to get the most out of us volunteers.

So when you have communicated enough, my guess is you need to communicate even more.

2. Treat Us As Slaves NOT Teammates

I will admit, slaves might be too strong of a word.  However, I would not be surprised if you see volunteers as a tool to accomplish your mission.  If this is even slightly true you are missing something truly great.

You have the potential to unleash a great team.  A team that will have great positive effect on the students you minister to.

The key is seeing all of you as part of a team.  Like any team everyone has their role and part to play, but everyone is needed.  If you work as a team here are some of the benefits;

  • Collective Wisdom: As a team you are much smarter in your planning.  Use this!  Brainstorm together, plan together, dream together.
  • Diversity of Gifts:  I am sure you are a great youth pastor, but I hate to break it to you, you cannot effectively do it all.  You just do not have the all those gifts.  However, your team does have all of the gifts needed to accomplish the vision God has given you.
  • Diversity of Personalities: With all of these different leaders with all of their different personalities it allows you to connect with all the different types of students you have.

To be effective with your volunteers you must be thinking team!

Are you a volunteer?  What ticks you off?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.