How to Recruit Volunteers and Keep Them

This post was recently featured on Youth Specialties' YS Scoop.

Finding good help is one of the most difficult aspects of our job. We know that good youth ministry means that students need many adults in their lives who will see them, love them, and model an abundant life in Christ.

BEFORE WE CAN TALK ABOUT RECRUITING VOLUNTEERS, LETS START WITH THE ONES YOU ALREADY HAVE: 

There are many tricks and tools to find, train, and equip volunteers. You should read everything you can read about that, because once you have your volunteers, they will need to know all of that information. But knowing information and being well trained is not how you keep volunteers. You keep volunteers because they feel like they are important and valuable to you and to the ministry you lead.

So if you want to keep your volunteers, simply love the snot out of them. They are giving up nights and weekends for you and for these students. Bless them, buy them lunch and coffee, pump them up and thank them. Help them create good relationships with students and help them succeed as small group leaders. Hanging with adolescent kids is a challenge and can crush your self esteem. It is even more challenging for your volunteers. So whatever you do, remind them that their only job is to simply love and care for students. And then help them do just that.

BUT THAT DOESN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION, “WHO?”:

“Who do you recruit for volunteers?” is an interesting one. Everyone I know has a different rubric for who to ask and what to expect. But no matter what you decide to add, at the very foundation of my list is, “Are they someone I want to spend more time with?”

I have found that my life is hectic and I have few opportunities for friendship outside my family and my job. So, whenever I find people in our church that I like and I want to spend time with, then I immediately consider them for student ministry. Of course there are other factors, but this is my main one.

If I don’t want to spend time with them, chances are my students won’t either. If I want to spend time with them, then chances are that I actually will spend time with them. I will seek to equip and bless them, and I will love nothing more than to celebrate life and ministry with them.

RECRUITING AND RETAINING VOLUNTEERS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE:  

Our volunteers are a gift and blessing.  When they are treated that way, they will want to stick around, and be on our team.  So, lets do just that, love and bless the snot out of them, so they will love and bless the snot out of our students.