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9 Signs You’re Burning Out In Youth Ministry

In my previous post I talked about the need to understand what we are called to, rather than what we are pulled to in youth ministry. Having a strong faith foundation and knowing what God is calling us to, will help us avoid saying “yes” to everything, and doing everything in our own strength…

Recently I saw a great post by Carey Nieuwhof that provides . It’s a great post and really worth the read. You can check it out by

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Youth Ministry Management: How to Keep Great Volunteers – Part 2

In my previous post I provided five ways to keep great volunteers in my youth ministries over the years. Having a great team of volunteer youth leaders is essential to the health of any youth ministry. There are no more ‘lone rangers’ in youth ministry and it’s important that we maintain a ‘wide bandwidth’ of volunteers to reach the different kinds of students we have in our churches and communities.

Volunteer Youth Worker

Here are five more ways that have been effective in investing and keeping great volunteers:  Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry Management: How to Keep Great Volunteers – Part 1

In my previous post, I talked about how I recruit volunteers. Having a well established volunteer team that is trusted by students is an incredible strength for any youth ministry. But this will only happen when we are able to keep volunteers coming back year after year. But how can this happen? What are the keys to keeping great volunteers?

Team Youth Ministry

Here are the first 5 of my essential practices to help keep great volunteers. I’ll post 5 more in my next post:  Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry Management: Recruiting Volunteers

There are ‘lone rangers’ in youth ministry. Your youth ministry will be effective if you have a great volunteer team. “How do I recruit good volunteers?” This is something I get asked about a lot. Today, let’s take a look at how I have successfully recruited volunteers, while also dispelling ways that I do not recruit volunteers. 

Recruiting Volunteers

In recruiting volunteers, I DO NOT: 

  • Put an an announcement in the bulletin or church newsletter
  • Make an announcement in the worship services
  • Put up recruitment flyers around the church
  • Create a catchy video that promises potential volunteers an incredible ministry and free coffee, (I did that once).

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the methods above, but for me, they are simply not very effective. The other aspect is that they are all deeply impersonal ways to recruit volunteers aren’t they? If you and I are dreaming of a relational ministry with relationally invested volunteers, it is imperative that we start out on the right foot and employ methods to recruit potential leaders in a relational way. (I think this is true of hiring a full-time youth worker too).

In the last ten years, there have been only few times when I truly struggled to recruit enough volunteers. Part of that is because I think I have a fairly good idea of how to keep good volunteers, (I’ll post about that next), and part of it is because of the way I recruit them. Here are four things I do:  Continue Reading…

5 Traits Of A Great Volunteer Youth Worker

“What makes a great volunteer youth worker?” I often meet potential volunteers at my church or at conferences who ask me questions similar to this. However, the thought behind the question often seems to be something like,

“I don’t have what it takes…” Or,  ”I’m not young enough. Or, “I don’t understand students enough.” Or, “I never worked with students before.” You fill in the blank, but you get the idea. So many existing and potential youth workers often match themselves up with some impossible and inaccurate standard of what it takes to be a great youth worker. In my experience, I have seen quite different traits as being the most effective. The following traits might not be what you expected?

5 Traits of Volunteer Youth Worker

You can add your own thoughts to this post, but for now here are my top five traits of a great volunteer youth worker:  Continue Reading…

Why Volunteer Youth Workers Need Greater Investment From The Local Church

In my opinion, volunteer youth workers are worth their weight in gold! However, so often the church places too much emphasis on the paid staff and not nearly enough in investing in it’s volunteer youth workers.

Volunteer Youth Worker Training

Here are four reasons why I think the local church needs to invest greater time and resources in volunteer youth workers, today and in the future: 

1) Paid Youth Workers Are Decreasing in Numbers: Recently I had a conversation with a youth ministry guru who advises and consults churches. During our time together he made a good argument for how church finances will impact the ability to hire youth workers in the future. You see, Millennials are giving more to causes and less to churches. Churches across the country are already seeing their incomes decline. If this trend continues, we should expect paid positions in youth ministry to be lost and greater emphasis placed on volunteers.

In the next 10 years I expect the landscape of youth ministry to be filled with volunteers who are being trained by the church to do ministry… Continue Reading…

99 Thoughts for Volunteers: Interview with Danette Matty – [VIDEO POST]

Last week I was able to catch up with friend and youth ministry veteran Danette Matty! She shares great insights to her new book,


A New Job Description For Veteran Volunteer Youth Workers?

Just last night I chatted to Marve and Maryann. They are two incredible youth workers who have been volunteering for nearly 20 years in youth ministry! How awesome is that? However, a trend that I often see with veteran volunteers is that they think they have a ‘sell by’ or ‘best before’ date in youth ministry… If you speak to Marve and Maryann, you don’t get that sense… Why is that?

Veteran Volunteer Youth Ministry

Continue Reading…

Relational Investment – The Difference Maker In Youth Ministry Volunteer Development…

How do you know if your volunteers ‘get it’? How do you know if your meetings and training are effective? What should training look like? With limited time, how can you make the most of volunteers busy schedules?

If I am honest, there is an insecurity in me that tells me I am not doing enough, or that there’s not enough time and resources to effectively train my leaders… Ever feel this way?

Volunteer Youth Ministry copy

Recently, I went back to a previous church for a birthday and was able to see a number of former volunteers who I had invested in over the years. One of my former volunteers sat down with me and shared something that took me a little by surprise… He shared that I had been one of the most influential people in his life… As they say in England, I was ‘gob smacked!’ To be honest, as I tried to think back to my time with him, I could not put my finger on what I had done to make this difference. Instead of over thinking things, I sat back and listened as he shared what made the difference to him. He said something like: Continue Reading…

Creating a Youth Ministry Volunteer Meeting Outline That Works.

In our , 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).

Iphone Planner

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… Continue Reading…

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