How often should volunteer youth leaders meet? What should be the focus of the meeting? How much is too much when it comes to meeting frequency? How can we build community as a team together?
These are just a few questions I get asked quite regularly by youth workers. My first answer is always, “It depends on the culture of every church. No one size fits all, but there is definitely a good balance that needs to be found when creating and developing a great team of volunteers.
I don’t know what your context is, but here is a basic schedule with the purpose for our meetings throughout the year. This is not THE way, it is just a way that works in my context. Even if you are a volunteer, you might want to steal a few ideas for your youth pastor / director / minister…
August: End of Summer Planning – Vision casting, planning the Fall, outlining dates, events, procedures, and basic training.
October: Small Group Leaders Huddle – This is a new aspect for us. It includes specific training for small group leaders. We have a training manual, activities, and break outs.
December: Leaders Christmas Party – Purely for building community, having fun together, and appreciating the volunteers.
January: New Year Planning – Revisit the vision, planning the winter, schedule outlining dates, events, and tweaks to the programs.
March: Simply Youth Ministry Conference – Every year I try to take as many volunteers as possible to a conference. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am a huge advocate for this conference. Having a team together to learn, grow, and build community is pretty amazing! Even if you can’t get to a conference. There are some great DVD training materials. Get a great location, make some meals, and train your volunteers!
Mid-March: End of School Year Planning - Planning the end of the school year, outlining dates, events, and tweaks to the programs. Looking ahead to basic summer schedule, (yes, I do work that far in advance).
May: Volunteer Firing BBQ – I stole this idea from Doug Fields years ago. It’s a great way to give leaders a clean break from serving if they are needing one. Everyone gets fired, and they get to choose if they come back in the Fall. (I would rather have leaders who love working with students, rather than leaders who feel obligated). This is just another great way to build community.
At the beginning of this post, I said that every church is different. This is simply what works for our church in a busy suburban area. You might be able to do more, or it might be less. However, ensure you include four crucial aspects to volunteer development:
- Continuously cast vision
- Provide specific training and tips
- Provide a detailed plan with dates
- Build community
Finally, in addition to meetings, provide: 1) A weekly email that includes specifics to your weekly programs. 2) Regular emailed training articles / tips.
What would you add to this? What helps you develop your team. If you are a volunteer, what has helped you develop? I know there is much more I could have added, but I am sure there are some incredible tips and ideas you have. Comment below…