Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 3: Volunteers

In my previous post I talked about how a successful ministry goes hand in hand with a leaders who care well for their own family. Today I want to talk about the importance of caring well for volunteer leaders and supporting a healthy family focus for them too. Many of them work full-time, or have teenagers of their own and busy lives. Therefore, it’s imperative that I create an environment that is conducive to healthy family ministry for them too…

I could start by telling you what I do to promote a healthy family focus for my leaders, but I will let some of them start by telling you instead:

Phil understands when we need to miss ministry to meet any family issues there is NO GUILT. He shows genuine concern about our families by remembering and asking how they are doing. He seeks to have a social relationship with our spouses who are not involved with youth ministry… Maryann

Phil reaches out and calls me to check up on how I am doing and not just me but my family as well.  It has been a true blessing and he has been a faithful friend to us since TJ’s passing… Trent (lost his 16 yr old son last September in a car accident)

I love serving in our youth ministry, and I have been for many years now.  But I have 2 kids of my own, and sometimes I need to miss.  When I communicate with Phil about having to miss the midweek youth night, he always says ‘no problem, family always comes first’.  Wow!  I don’t feel guilty about missing.  I want to make sure there are enough workers present, but he doesn’t let me go there.  It is so encouraging for me to know that I am not being judged about missing a night every once in a while so that I can be present at my own kids events. Charissa

Being a new father and helping out with the Youth, Phil is constantly reminding me that family comes first. There has been a few time this year when things have come up either with our son or other family members when I was unable to make Fusion and Phil has always stressed the point that Family comes first… Josh

I feel like Phil states the needs of the ministry and then allows us to decide which needs we can fill based on our family’s schedule. Also, we have enough leaders to be a little flexible and  “float” people around if someone cannot attend an event due to family commitments… Beth

You are considerate of family time at the holidays and schedule accordingly. Even if that means canceling Sunday School or Fusion for a week.  I value that time with my family and don’t feel guilty then for taking the time off… Lee

You are always encouraging us leaders to step up an help each other out.  Whether it’s helping out with games and icebreakers or giving a message in your place.  It keeps us from getting overwhelmed or spending too much time at home preparing… Jason

As I wrap up this post, here a few quick things I do to help my leaders stay family focused. (This is NOT THE WAY, just simply A WAY that is working for me and my leaders).

1) Schedule Way In Advance: Allow them lots of time so they can plan for their families.

2) Make Meetings Count: We meet every two months and the feedback I get is that the meetings are productive and helpful. In meetings we a) Pray and celebrate what God has been doing, b) share challenges and provide solutions c) provide specific training d) look ahead at the teaching and events schedule. e) Pray

3) Over Communicate the Schedule: Volunteers can be busy people, so don’t expect them to get the schedule straight away… Over communication is better than too little I find…

4) Pray For Them And Ask About Their Families: The more I pray for my leaders, the more I have God’s heart for them. I also find there is distinct correlation to how leaders invest in students based on how I invest in my leaders lives…

5) Give Grace To Miss: Yes, there have been times when we are short of leaders, but I have found that my leaders are more committed and more focused when I am concerned about them. If there is a family event or one of their kids has sports etc, I must care more about their family commitment than filling the spaces. God always seems to provide when I pursue health for my leaders…

6) No Parenting At Our Programs And Events: If I have a parent leader, I have a rule that they cannot parent while at the program / event. It has to be a healthy win for both parent and student while they are both there.

Well, there are few ways I consider my leaders and their families. Again, it’s not THE WAY, it is just A WAY.

Next up: Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 4 – For Parents.

Phil <><

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