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Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

People who give of themselves and expect nothing in return are my favorite kind of people. Especially when they volunteer for something they truly believe in. Which is why I REALLY like people that volunteer in youth ministry — it means they are people that believe in teenagers and in Jesus.

So, if you are someone who volunteers (or works) in youth ministry…You rock! Keep reaching this generation with something that will matter forever.

This is just for you.

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I have been focusing a lot on church volunteers due to upcoming job responsibilities and the change in my church status from church employee to church member/part of the volunteer pool. During this time of volunteer contemplation I have become involved in a group blogging discussion with the book “Mad Church Disease” by Anne Jackson. The discussion all started here.

“Mad Church Disease” is a wonderful book that tackles the rarely discussed topic of ministry burnout. (I will be leading the discussion for chapter 9 next week.) When I first started reading this book my mind was focused on paid ministry position burnout because it’s what I have experienced. However, as we began group discussion on the book some of the discussion turned to volunteer burnout. I was highly aware of church staff burnout but not overly sensitive to volunteer burnout.

Here are some questions I would like to tackle with some folks willing to discuss. Feel free to add your own.

Volunteers:

  • How often do you volunteer?
  • Did you receive training for your position?
  • Have you experienced burnout as a volunteer?
  • Were/Are you serving in an area that you think you fit the best?
  • Did/Do you feel cared for/nurtured in your volunteer position?
  • How did you recover from burnout…or have you?

Church Staff/Volunteer Coordinator:

  • How do you recruit volunteers?
  • How do you decide where to place volunteers in ministry?
  • What kind of training do volunteers get before serving?
  • How do you keep volunteers?
  • How do you protect volunteers from burnout/monitor their health?
  • How do you ensure that volunteers have ample time to be growing spiritually?

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I’ve been spending a good bit of time contemplating the training of volunteers in youth ministry. This was something I was actually pretty darn poor at when I was in charge of youth ministry. It just seemed like there was always something vying for my time and training just kept getting pushed to the back burner time after time. There were times that there was some awesome training available in our area and I could never convince anyone to go with me because many times the trainings would require volunteers to take time off from their jobs in order to be trained. Hmmm, those trainings were so NOT conducive to the typical youth ministry volunteer. However…training is imperative. We MUST make sure that our volunteers are prepared. They must be equipped…

One of the questions that keeps coming to my mind is,

What if you could only train your youth ministry volunteers/leaders for one afternoon session? What would be the irreducible minimum of what you would train them in?

Would you focus on the year’s new curriculum? What about diversity and youth culture? Would you hope to hone in on relationship building? How about teaching the Gospel? Would you even begin to touch on teenage red flag topics like cutting, suicide or depression? Is human sexuality among youth something you would skip? How about spiritual gift inventories…are they worth your time during the hypothetical training? Oh and don’t forget about your ministry’s child abuse policy!

What’s the most important thing to pour into your volunteers?

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