Everyone has been operating from home for some time now and ministry is still happening. What an incredible story this will be, the fact that the church didn’t stop taking the Gospel into the world. The reality is that we will be re-entering the in person world again and for youth ministry it takes an amazing team of caring adults to pull it all off. How in the world do you build up your volunteer team without being physically in front of them or without an official announcement from the adult services?
The truth is that we need to be recruiting right now to be ready for WHATEVER the fall brings.
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Here are some tips and tricks to recruiting volunteers during Quarantine:
1. Ask Your Current VolunteersThis is your greatest resource. Your current team is on your team for a reason, they know what it takes, they know if people would be a good fit or not, so ask them who they know. Reach out to each of your volunteers and ask them for 1 name each. This would be an awesome start to recruiting great leaders.
2. Parents are an untapped resource
Not every parent should serve in youth ministry, but there are some that absolutely should. Make it easy for parents to know about needs and opportunities to serve. Take them through the same process as anyone else and be ok with finding different opportunities for them if you know it will not be a good fit. Don’t hesitate to reach out to families, who have kids committed to the youth ministry, they already believe in it, now they need to see how they fit into the vision.
3. Church Database
Use your church database to your advantage. Most databases can filter ages, types of people, attendance numbers, etc. Disregard if you don't have a church database but every church should have something, even if its Excel!
4. Ask Staff
The people you work with on a daily/weekly basis know people you may not. Take time to describe what you are looking for to your team and see if they know people. Again, ask them for one name each and see what comes from it. You may not realize your best volunteers are known by other staff members even if you don't yet.
5. Church Social Media platforms
Social media right now can be your best friend when it comes to recruiting. You need to have a compelling vision, communicate it clearly and then ask if people want to join you in reaching this generation. Use the church facebook group, use the church instagram account, go LIVE, create great looking graphics and see what happens. Its a free resource you should be leveraging to recruit.
6. Your personal Social Media
People you like and are friends with should be a no brainer to ask to serve with you. If they like you, they will say yes. Don’t hesitate to put something out on your own social media platforms. If you want to build a great team you have to do whatever it takes.
What you need when you talk to someone interested in serving with students:
Vision - You need to be able to convey what you see for students in the ministry, where you believe God is taking you, and how that person fits into the story
Clear Path - application, background check, observation, etc. The idea is that after your meeting that person will know exactly what needs to happen to serve.
Clear Expectations - Before they jump in they need to know exactly what is expected of them if they serve. The worst thing you can do for a volunteer is to communicate poorly and to blindside them with unspoken expectations you have for your leaders.
Don’t just pick one of those ideas, do them all! Don’t wait around until its to late! You need to start recruiting now!
Build a team to go after middle school and high school students together! Give away ministry and allow the gifts that God has given people to shine!
Your calendar is not getting any less full. Like me, I am sure your personal calendar is stuffed, your work calendar is jammed and then you have the calendar your mother in law expects you to follow… hers! Calendars dictate your time but also can tell you when you are free! I can't tell you how to manage your personal calendar but I could send you a template email to send to your mother in law (insert appropriate emoji). Your youth ministry calendar is the one that you have an opportunity to leverage.
There is a natural rhythm to the ministry you oversee. Most of the time it's dictated by school breaks, your personal life and adult leaders availability. Let's scrap that mind set for a second and look at the calendar with a different filter. Look at your calendar and ask yourself, when would I have the biggest opportunity to build relationally with students? Every church is different, schools have different calendars and there are certain variables in each context. You are in charge of the calendar for youth ministry. Are you leveraging it well?
When do you kickoff certain ministries? Does it line up with a natural rhythm of school and family life for your students?
Kickoffs and Ending Celebrations are momentum builders that set up the future. Natural calendars for families, school, etc are already in place. Build your ministry calendar to line up with those so you can maximize your time together.
Are you planning activities during school breaks to make the most of relational time with your students?
Every school break that lasts more than 1 day is an opportunity to schedule some hangout time and have fun with your students and their friends. Whether its sports, video games, board games, taco bell, movies, etc, you have an opportunity to build relational equity by giving your students something to go do!!
Do your big weekends make sense for your students AND their families?
There is nothing worse than planning an event that happens to fall at the same time as a massive school event, sports, or weekend where nearly every family at your church decides to go somewhere. Make sure you schedule your D-Now weekend or fall retreat when the majority of your students have no conflicts. Choose the week of summer camp when you know your athletes and marching band kids wont practice. Make your Kickoff to the school year before school starts so you can actually celebrate without a wave of anxiety creeping in, or kickoff well after school started so your students actually are optimistic about the school year.
Do you just do the same thing or do you try new things and mix it up for your crew?
Please, try new things out. Please, try and fail instead of relying on the same events or programs to get the job done. Your students need you to try, be creative and risk failing in order to get to a final product that is awesome! Try something new and fail, its all good!!!
Your calendar can be the most freeing thing if you are strategic about it and intentional about when you do what you do. Have the students in mind first and your leaders will get on board. Cast vision well and pray like crazy for God to do some amazing things in the youth ministry you have the great privilege of overseeing for this season of your life!