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5 more ways to improve a volunteer meeting

5 more ways to improve a volunteer meeting

Editor’s Note: Last week, we took a look at 5 ways to improve volunteer meetings with Meredith Dahl from Cross Connection Ministries in New Holland, PA. If you haven’t already read that post, go take a look! We’re going to pick it up this week with 5 more ways to improve your volunteer meetings.

6.     Encourage volunteers to “own” the mission.

Equip your volunteers to “own” the vision of the ministry. Talk about the purpose/mission ALL the time. When we changed our mission statement we gave out prizes to those volunteers who had memorized the new statement. We continue to spend training times discussing what a “win” looks like in the ministry and what the goals for the ministry are. Volunteers who understand why they are there and what their role is are more likely to be invested in the mission and their service.

7.     Thank your volunteers…all the time.

Volunteers are busy and receive little thanks in ministry. Spend time thanking volunteers in small and large ways. Send thank-you cards, notes and gifts at different Holidays (even random Holidays like St. Patrick’s day and Valentine’s Day). Consider having a volunteer appreciation night where students give testimonies of how volunteers have impacted their life. This past year we had a banquet for our volunteers where they could invite family and friends to the night of appreciation. All the volunteers were given a gift, a certificate and a small story about their involvement in the ministry. Also consider asking individuals in your congregation to help with thanking your volunteers. There are often individuals willing to write notes of encouragement or bake cookies. Be creative and don’t stop thanking your volunteers!

8.     Make it memorable.

We often focus on leaving our students with one main theme in our teaching time (i.e. see Jason Mitchel’s previous blog post). What about our volunteers? Try not to overload your volunteers with student ministry jargon and step-by-step trainings. Instead leave them with one memorable idea to focus on. Do what you can to focus on that one principal that you hope they walk away with and implement in the ministry.

9.     Equip them!

Staff trainings should be about just that, equipping our volunteers! Ask your volunteers what areas they would like to learn more about. If you don’t feel confident in that subject, bring in guest speakers! There are great non-profit organizations that focus on different youth topics including drug/alcohol abuse, other addictions, suicide, self-injury, self-identity, etc. Many non-profit organizations will come and speak to your leaders at a minimal cost or even for free! They just want to equip student ministry volunteers! Also, consider providing yearly staff training retreats/seminars. Offer different breakout topics and train on different issues in the ministry. If you have a smaller youth ministry, consider working with other youth pastors/leaders in the community to put on a volunteer training day. Each pastor/leader could speak at different breakout seminars and assist in the event.

10.   Create an environment of community.

Volunteer staff trainings are more fun, relaxing and productive when there is food involved, music and the use of multi-media. If your volunteer staff trainings are during the dinner hour, bless your volunteers with a meal! If not, provide snacks and drinks to create community. Also, if you can, incorporate music and elements of multi-media to add to their learning. Volunteers appreciate a welcoming atmosphere and the time put in to the trainings.

These are only a few ideas to change up your volunteer trainings! Consider implementing several and increase your volunteer attendance and commitments. We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to include a comment with your ideas and thoughts regarding training meetings with your volunteers.


Meredith Dahl
Executive Directory at Cross Connection Ministries
Meredith is the Executive Director of Cross Connection Ministries in New Holland, PA. She has received a Bachelor of Science in Student Ministry and a Master of Arts in Ministry (Concentration in Student Ministry) from Lancaster Bible College. Meredith and her husband live in New Holland with their baby boy Liam and love living, working and volunteering in their community.