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The Treasure Hunt

20 Aug Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on The Treasure Hunt
The Treasure Hunt

I was talking with a friend who leads the high school department for a local ministry. The ministry he works for is healthy, hundreds of students live within a 10 minute walk, he likes kids and yet there is only a hand-full of kids in his group. As our conversation continued he expressed mild disappointment in the turnout. He realized that many students were hungry for the life-changing truth of God’s Word. The need was great, the facilities were awesome, and seemingly kids were interested in attending- so why weren’t more kids involved?

My friend purposely limits the number of students who were allowed to attend due to the lack of volunteers. Not many student ministry leaders have the courage to make that type of decision. Having a healthy ratio of students to volunteers is wise but there was a deeper issue….

This experienced youth leader had given up hope of recruiting new volunteers.

Based on his experience his conclusion was that everyone was too busy to help. So, he stopped asking. True, people are busy today but his conclusion made me sad. Many people do want to volunteer, they do want to make a difference, and they do want to use their gifting in a meaning manner.


The Volunteer Treasure Hunt

Finding good volunteers in many ways feels like a treasure hunt. The prize is there but you have to work to find it. Here are some tips to help you find priceless volunteers:

  1. Create a clear, written job description. People want to know what they are signing up for.
  2. Give them meaningful responsibilities.  If volunteers feel that their absence won’t hurt the program, they’ll feel free to be absent. On the other hand, if they feel their absence will create a burden for others, they’ll be highly committed.
  3. Look them in the eye when you ask. Flyers, emails and pleas in the church bulletin are easily ignored. Personal, face-to-face conversations are much more effective.
  4. Don’t limit your search to young, athletic, trendy people. A healthy ministry requires a broad range of individuals. Grandmothers make some of the best volunteers, especially those who bake!
  5. Potential volunteers are everywhere. Never stop looking for the treasure of your next volunteer.

The importance of having others involved

A balanced blend of volunteers brings health to your student ministry.

Be honest, some tasks you stink at doing. Recruit people who are better at those tasks than you, that may even include teaching! There are certain students that you’re just not as able to connect with. Find people who could connect with that student in 5 minutes more than you could in 5 years.

Your job is not to do everything. Your job is to be sure everything gets done effectively. Student ministry is more fruitful and enjoyable when a diverse group of volunteers are exercising their gifts. Enjoy the treasurer hunt!

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.