I have great volunteers. They’ve worked hard with me. Some have been with me for a year, some have been with for eight years. Part of my role is to re-evaluate them to see if they need to make a shift in the ministry laterally to another position or if they need to make an exit to another ministry.
Lately I’ve been thinking hard on how to re-engage them. Our youth ministry is pretty loose. It’s pretty loose because our church is pretty loose. That’s the culture of this small, southern church.
We average around 15-20 kids a week. We have events. Our weekly meetings are almost self starting because kids come in, know what to do, and they generally and genuinely love each other.
Because we do not have a large group and because of the culture, there isn’t a ton of stuff for volunteers to do and creating more work for the sake of more work just wouldn’t work.
So, here at the end of the year, I am doing some re-evaluating of the ministry and our volunteers and there are some questions I am needing to ask. If you’re in a similar situation, I hope my thinking out loud benefits you too.
Why Does This Youth Ministry Need You?
This is a strange question, right? Yet I have to ask it. It’s all about leverage. Volunteers have leverage if I absolutely need them to run the program I’ve designed or if the kids needs are so great they need other adults in their life to help them along.
I have leverage if the task side of the ministry is so small I could do it myself. In other words, If I am creating jobs for them to do, I can also uncreate job too and not lose anything by doing so.
At this moment, I have too much leverage, and that’s a bad thing. Much of what can be done in our youth ministry could be done by our college students or younger. It’s possible that I could just scale the ministry down and phase out the few volunteers I have, but that would also be a bad thing, in my opinion.
I asked this question to my volunteers and one of them said, “I don’t think this youth ministry need me” To which I replied, “The youth meeting doesn’t need you, but the youth do.” This particular volunteer had lost their place. I knew that and she did to, but asking this question put it all on the table without a confrontation.
Some of my volunteers are going through a season; a season of personal battles, a season of kids, a season of job change, and a season of working hard to make ends meet. I am empathic to that and I have to make graceful decisions in light of that.
There is a follow up to this question, “Why do you need this youth ministry?” The answers varied but they all said the same thing, “I want to make a difference” and “I want to be of value.”
At this point, after some though and counsel, I need to put the leverage back in their court. I need to build more value into the program and give them a sense of pride and meaning again. I want, scratch that, I need them to feel like their contribution matters.
“Good leaders ask great questions that inspire others to dream more, think more, learn more, do more, and become more.”
― John C. Maxwell,
On to the next question.
Question number two: What Is Your Passion Level?