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When Youth Ministry Volunteers Go Rogue

3 · 07 · 10

We’ve all been through it. We inherit a volunteer who you think you can work with and then you notice you can’t. Why? In my case it was about getting the volunteer to teach the curriculum given to him

My standards for the teacher were simple, teach, connect with new students, show up to appropriate meetings and actually teach from scripture, ya know, little things like that.

Of course, this kind of friction is never easy. This volunteer had taught for a long time, he was entrenched. The kids liked him (of course, what teen wouldn’t like to goof off  for an hour each week in SS.) I tried to work with this volunteer and he just wanted to do what he wanted to do.

Disclaimer: I liked this teacher as a person. His son was on our leadership team (he takes after his mother).

My choices for dealing with a rogue volunteer teacher were 

1. Get rid of him outright (you’re not doing the job)

2. Try to get him on board again (I don’t like this option, he’s not going to play ball)

3. Talk to the parents of students in this group ( not a fan of this either, makes me look petty, us vs him)

3. Install an independent evaluation group. Just like public school teachers who don’t make the grade. I could have other staff members or parents, sit in the class and evaluate the teacher/class. I liked this option best for two reason

a) Parents see what I’m talking about. I am not making it up

b) The teacher(s) do not get the backlash from me; they’re getting it from independent people.

I could have created a teacher evaluation sheet and this is what would have been on it,

1. Did the appropriate lesson get taught?

2. How was class discipline?

3. How did the teacher/class respond to new guests?

4. Was there prayer (you would think that I would not have to ask this)

5. How did the discussion go?

I did not create such an evaluation sheet but I wish I had. My desperate attempt at control only made me more unhappy and the distance between this teacher and I get wider. I should have sought more honest conversations and prayed through it more. Don’t be me.

I’m not say saying you should ignore a rogue volunteer, but I would tread far more carefully and prayerfully than I did.

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