3 Ways to Build a Great Volunteer Team

What I saw this weekend was incredible! 

I spoke at a youth ministry this past weekend.   This particular group has been without a youth pastor for 5 months.  Yet when I was there the group was not just surviving, I would say they were thriving.

How could a group thrive with no youth pastor for so long?

Leadership!  To be more specific, the volunteer leadership was amazing.  I saw 6 or 7 different people leading the different aspects of the night.  The former youth pastor did a fantastic job of not building the youth ministry around him but around the team.

So here are 3 ways that you can build a great team.

 1. Give It Away

When a new president is voted in they meet with all of the former presidents to get advice.  When Obama was voted in one thing that Clinton said to him was, “Only do the jobs that nobody but the president can do”.

You are probably doing things that you do not have to be doing.  Give away jobs and responsibilities.  No volunteer leader can grow and be stretched if they have nothing meaningful to do.

They could;

  • preach
  • lead worship
  • train student band members
  • pick small group material
  • plan events
  • shape youth nights

The key is you have to give it away.

2. It Must Be A Win

Do not set up a team member to fail.  That is the quickest way to kill moral and lose volunteers.  You must become a master at discernment.

What are their gifting, temperament and passions.  You have to find them a place where they can fulfill all of those things.

When you do this you have a win.

 3. Follow-up, Teach, Inspire, Repeat

After one of your volunteers preaches or plans an event you need to follow-up with them that week to see what they thought and learned.

There also needs to be regular teaching and training.  This can be done formally by you or someone else.  But it also needs to be done informally when teachable moments present themselves.

You also have to be the biggest cheerleader.  Your job is to be constantly inspiring your team.

Then you repeat.  It never ends until you leave.

This is my guarantee,

If you follow these 3 steps you will have a team that far outlasts you.  And that is the healthiest thing you could do for your youth ministry.

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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.


  1. Tonysays:

    I couldn’t agree more. After over 5 years of building a ym from scratch I transitioned out of state 3 months ago and I was so glad I spent those years pouring into my leaders and giving them ownership of the ministry. The last thing I wanted was to see all those years go down the drain cause i built the ministry around me.

    When I left I came up with a transition plan and realized they were already doing most of what I was writing down.
    The coolest part of this transition is my replacement was one of my leaders that just naturally rose to the top.

    He just recently took over and the ministry is Thriving and never missed a step.

  2. Tyson Howellssays:

    What a great success story Tony. If only more Youth Workers would do this. We need to keep telling stories like this so it will happen more often.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

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