When I think of the fall season, I think of a fresh start, new beginnings, a new year. I love new students, the launch of new programs & activities, and most of all new volunteer leaders. Don't get me wrong, I love all youth ministry volunteers, but there is something extra special about a fresh new volunteer leader. They are in the beginning stages of youth ministry, eager to learn, eager to change the world, and eager to begin ministering to students. Even though new volunteers have initial reservations, they are typically ready to jump in and make things happen. But more often than not, youth ministry volunteers jump in without any direction, personal vision, training, and encouragement. As you begin this next season of youth ministry, it's important to remember that these leaders need someone to cast vision for their personal ministry, equip them to lead students, and breathe life into them personally & spiritually. Below are some tips to help you minister to your volunteers as you gear up for another season of ministry.
#1 Kick it off right!
Begin this new season of ministry with a big kick-off night. Start the year off right by empowering, training and encouraging your volunteer leaders.
Theme Idea: Football Fall Kick-Off
Grab some football helmets, jerseys, team pennants, pom poms, & other football decorations
Have everyone come dressed in their favorite team jersey (any sport)
Hand out sports bottles/water bottles with your logo on it
Training topics Tackling Small Groups or Reach for the Goal
Get tickets to a local college or professional football game for a door prize
Eat sub sandwiches, buffalo wings, nachos, etc.
Find an athlete to give an inspirational talk
Take time to communicate your vision for the ye
Send your volunteers into this ministry season feeling affirmed and valued. This is also a great way for your new volunteers to become a part of you're youth ministry community.
#2 Is it a FIT?
The beginning of a new year is a great time to meet with volunteers one on one. Talk with each of them about their personal ministry, where they see themselves in the coming ministry season, and where you would like to see them grow, step up, or take on more responsibility. Help each volunteer feel fulfilled & valued in their personal ministry. If a volunteer is serving in an area that is not a fit for them, they will burn out quick. Spend some time helping each volunteer find their ministry fit and once they find it, continue to encourage and challenge them.
Idea: Spend the day at a local coffee shop or
restaurant. Schedule or invite each of your volunteer leaders to come
and meet with you at specific times throughout the day. Try to spend
20 to 30 minutes with each volunteer and don't forget to buy their
#3 Keep Volunteers in The Loop
Send volunteers a Fall/Spring calendar. Be specific about what you want them to attend and what is optional. Volunteers need to know your time expectations and a calendar is an easy way to communicate your needs.
Send out a weekly e-mail. Share fun ministry stories, upcoming event reminders, and the exciting things that God is doing in your ministry. Attach pictures, scripture, funny videos or quotes just to add a little something extra.
Make phone calls. Program your volunteer's phone numbers into your cell phone and every time you get in the car, call a volunteer. Personally invite them to be a part/or lead at a certain event/program or leave an encouraging message.
#4 Breathe life by sharing life
Get together as a team and have a little fun! Laugh, relax, & share life.
Tailgate Party meet at your local high school football game or favorite sporting event send out the invite with a ticket to the game BBQ before hand in the parking lot. Invite spouses and families!
Broomball High school volunteers vs. Junior high volunteers OR Ladies vs. Men gather everyone on the ice for a little friendly competition! Find parents to cater dinner before or after the event.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Blitz Find students & parents to bake plates of chocolate chip cookies and deliver them to your volunteers at work/home/school/etc. Attach a note: It's going to be a sweet ministry year!