In our previous post, we talked about creating a volunteer training schedule that works. As a part of that, I included our regular planning meetings that are scheduled every couple of months. (I don’t believe I need meetings every month with my busy volunteers – Their time is precious, so I meet every couple of months).
So, what makes a volunteer meeting effective? What do we need to cover? Well, as I said in the previous post, every ministry is different and there is not one size fits all. However, I can share with you the basic format I follow to ensure we cover the most essential aspects in 90 minutes or less…
1. Devotion / Vision Casting: Simply put, we look at scripture to guide us to clarify why we do what we do from week to week. It can also serve to guide us in the ‘how to’ of ministry.*
* This month I shared Philippians 4:9 as a guide to help us see the process of discipleship in our students. In a nutshell, they hear, see, and put into practice. Often students hear teaching from us, but it is imperative that they see how faith is lived out, as well being able to put their faith into practice.
2. Highlights and Helps:
- Highlights: This is an opportunity for me to listen to my volunteers: They share stories, celebrate victories, and provide insights to how God is moving in the life of students. It’s easy to default to challenges and what needs to improve, so it’s imperative that leaders are encouraged to share their positive highlights first. This also serves to clarify the vision of why we do what we do. Nothing casts vision better than a story of a changed life.
- Helps: This again is where I listen to my volunteers as they share ministry issues they need help with. Often other volunteers will jump in with solutions they have discovered for themselves. I also have opportunities to provide quick training moments with my volunteers. If there is an issue that is hefty in nature, I will usually ask my volunteer to schedule a time to talk later.
3. Tips and Tweaks: As I go through the ministry month, I keep a running list of things we need to improve, change, or adapt. This is a short time for me to give specific (and short) training to my volunteers.
4. Review: We often will look at a teaching series, an event, or a program and review how they went. It’s essential that we always look back and review what we have done. Even better, it’s imperative that we take notes and provide solutions for next time…
5. Look Ahead:
- Teaching Series: I usually give them a 3 month basic outline of the upcoming series. This is huge for the volunteers who like to plan. It will also help you to have greater creativity as you begin to percolate on ideas in the coming months.
- Events: These include outreach, connection, and servant events.
- Next Meeting Date: Always, always, always, provide the next meeting date! Help your volunteers make your meetings a priority by giving them the date well in advance before their schedule gets filled up…
6. Prayer Time: This should be a given, but often it is the thing that gets missed at the end of a meeting. If need be, assign this to a volunteer who will not forget!
And finally: Write an agenda (and include times if you need to stay on track)! Even if you are not the most organized person, this is a must! Having an agenda ensures you stay on task. Having times on your agenda will help you honor volunteers and get them home to their families in good time…
What do would you add to this list? What staples have you established in your youth ministry meetings?