Can You Tell me A Story?

My 4th question in this series  for re-evaluating volunteers is, “Can you tell me a story?”. Every youth ministry has a narrative. We are a collection of stories but we tend to focus on numbers, activity, and logistics.

Stories matter. Stories tell me what kind of impact you’re making. Stories reveal the characters you are impacting and might reveal the plot that that is developing,  I don’t even mind if they brag a little, boast in Christ’s name of what God has been doing in them and through them.

The other half of this story is about “How is this youth ministry is impacting you?” I want to know who’s touching your heart, what are you learning (from students) through the ministry, and what is God teaching you in the midst of your ministry to students?

I could go deeper into story and ask them to each share how they would like their story change. What twist would they like too see and maybe how they would like to see their story in youth ministry end.

This last question is important because I am asking them to dream and then embrace practices that will increase the chances that they are getting the ending they are looking for. In addition to getting what they want our students are going to get motived leader seeking to write a better story for themselves and, ultimately, our youth ministry.

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melodie Beattie

What’s your story?

Join me tomorrow for part five.


Is Your Mission Big Enough?

This is the third post in my series about evaluating your youth ministry volunteers. If you do not happen to have a team, this would be great questions to ask yourself if you feel your own commitment slacking.

Small church youth ministries struggle because the mission isn’t big enough not only to keep kids engaged, but to keep kids growing. I find this also to be true with volunteers whose commitment is waning.

This is not only a question for my volunteers but for me as well as I set the pace for our youth ministry, Posing the question to my volunteers may be the key to finding our where I need to broaden their vision as to the importance of why they are there.

This personal mission statement may reveal new roles and responsibilities I need to create which give them a greater satisfaction and a greater sense of purpose.

I may start with the question: What do you believe your personal mission is when you walk into the youth room? My guess is, non one has one, which means I need to help them craft one. This may be taken care of in one of our month LIFT meetings.

I will ask our volunteers to prayerfully consider what their personal mission and, once that is established, ask them how that fits into the overall scheme of things. It will be interesting to hear the answers but here are some that may come to their mind

To help you help the youth

To help kids find Jesus

To do whatever you ask of me

Now, I’m giving the basest of answers, they could surprise me and I will let you know if they do.

Once we have cemented personal missions of each of the volunteers, I may ask our students to do the same.

My missions has been the same for 28 years

    1. Create an an atmosphere to know God (worship, fellowship,)
    1. 2. Create an environment to serve God (se
    rvice, leadership)
    This has kept me focused and has kept me in the game when I felt like quitting.
    If you have a personal mission statement each week you walk in to serve young people, what is it?

Next Question: Can You Tell Me A Story?

Three Ways To Get Your Volunteers To Open Your E-Mail




How many times have you sent e-mail’s to your youth ministry volunteers but received no response? I am raising my hand. If I wanted my volunteers to open my e-mails I had to get better at crafting them or just stop sending them. Here’s my short list of changes I had t make.

Be Consistent 

I was not very consistent in sending email. Some weeks my volunteers didn’t not know whether they were going to receive an e-mail from me or not. I was on again off again. I had time, I did not have time. I. had to decide what I was going to offer them. Did they NEED to hear from me once a week? Is the program or service that intricate that they NEED to hear from me? Does the e-mail need to be on a need to basis?

We have to decide how often our volunteers need to hear from us and maybe we should start with asking them what they want to know and when they want to know it. This will clear up any confusion and everyone will be on the same page.

Change the Subject Line

in modern day marketing, having the right Subject Line is critical to whether someone opens your e-mail or not. Think of the e-mails you open and the ones your don’t. Why don’t you open them? Probably because the subject line did not entice you to do do. I have learned much of this by trial and error though my own newsletter (you can sign up here btw) and have tried to do a better job getting my crew to open the e-mails I send.

If you are sending an e-mail to volunteers here are some terrible lines to include:

Small Group List

Schedule This Month

Program Schedule

Here ya go!

They say what the e-mail is about, sort of, but these lines do not make me care about what’s inside.  Here are some sample e-mail subject lines you might click on,

We need to be praying for this kid (then share prayer requests for a certain kid and include a not about pre-service prayer)

You Might Have Won Volunteer of The Week (If You Did These Five Things) The use the e-mail to brag on one of your volunteers and the extra mile they went to serve and maybe give them a gift card to a local restaurant. This way you get to share your values and reward those who follow them.

Try writing a few lines and then ask your yourself, “Would I open or delete this?” If it’s delete, change it

Say Something Important, , Relevant, or Valuable Every Time 

In other words, don’t wast their time. If I am going to send an e-mail I want to do three things

Keep the vision in front of the them

I want my volunteers to know that their presence makes an impact.  I talk about our wins and the challenges that are before us and the big picture of the ministry.

Equip them to serve

This comes through articles related to their ministry (small group, speaking, leadership, culture, etc.). I also write my own articles plotting out the best way to go about things, like this video I did on stuff that I obsessive compulsive about and how they may be able to help me.

Open lines of communication for them to speak into the program

An e-mail give you the change to hear back from your leaders in a non-threading way. Why not ask a question at the end of your e-mail or their opinion about something happing in culture? You could link to a program like Slack where everyone can join in the conversation.

If you really want to see if your volunteer are opening your e-mails, you can use Mail Chimp where you can make some snazzy newsletters as well as see if the e-mails were opened.

Your Turn

Vote: How do you normally communicate with your volunteers?