This is part two in my series on the seven questions to re-evaltuate your youth ministry volunteers. In my last post, I shared the first question: Who has the leverage? My next question is, “What’s your passion level?”
Let me offer a caveat before I get rolling. I understand that many youth groups do not have a wealth of choices when it comes to volunteers. You may not be able to recruit because your congregation is smaller and/or older and the desire for people to work with the youth is limited. That being said, we still have to be willing to evaluate our volunteers even if that means we have to change the way we do youth ministry.
Here are some passion signs I am look for
Are they showing up?
If I have leaders who are simply not showing (no work or illness) then their commitment is in question. By not showing up, this tells me they are not interested or invested in the youth ministry. Once again, choices may be limited, but no example is still better than a bad example.
Are they participating/engaging?
I have a couch in our youth room. It’s where the adults sit during worship while kids worship to the side. I want to burn that couch, but I’ve had to shift my mind from “Why aren’t you with the kids? to “Are you and God engaged?”
I think we can make mountains out of mole hills. There is nothing spiritually significant about adults standing or sitting with kids in worship. Our kids are not becoming “better worshippers” because our adults are standing or sitting with them.
If there were disciplinary problems, I could see where adults sitting with kids would be of value; but our kids are good kids. It’s my job to say something interesting and keep students engaged, not my volunteer’s job to keep bored kids interested.
In the end I ask, “Are they worshipping or are they disengaged?” It’s important that I not judge them. These are grown people with jobs and lives, but I must always remind them that they are examples.
I’m also looking at the kinds of conversations they’re having with kids. Are they seeking to uplift kids or are their conversations about nothing? Are they having intentional relationships in order to lead kids further along in their relationship with Christ?
Engagement is, ultimately, in the details and visible in the fruit that is being produced. My eyes are drawn to progress and not just activity.
Am I asking them to fulfill roles and responsibilities?
I text my team a couple of times a week, letting them know about what’s going on. I offer several opportunities on how they can add value to the meeting or certain jobs that need to be done. I also call them individually if I feel like someone on my team would fit a particular activity such as games, food, etc.
I’ve been to several bookstores lately, and it’s the time of the year where bookstores collect books for school, hospitals, etc. The girl asked me “Would you like to purchase a book for X?” She continued, “If you’re feeling extra generous, this is the last in this particular series of books.” I wasn’t feeling extra generous but she had me because she asked.
What I understand is that I cannot hide behind technology. I cannot lead by text. I have to lead face to face, with human connection. It’s easy to say no to or ignore a text. It’s much harder to say not to a real person or to a real need.
Question number three What Is Your Mission?