Volunteers are perhaps the most valuable people in youth ministry! Great volunteers who hang in for long haul will make a lasting and impacting difference in the lives of students.
Sadly, the most common reason that I have seen volunteers cease to work with students is not their lack of passion and calling – it is rate of burnout and being tired out…
In my previous post I talked about the importance of protecting volunteers in general. Today I want to focus on one area I mentioned briefly:
How can I help protect my volunteers from burnout and exhaustion?
1. Create a Healthy Ministry Schedule: Asking most volunteers to serve on a weekly basis is already a challenge for many in their busy lives. For many parent volunteers in particular, making youth group once a week and staying in contact with their small group is a big deal. Therefore I try to commit to scheduling our ministry with healthy breaks and bear in mind my volunteers schedules. a) During Christmas break we do not meet. b) We do not meet for Spring Break. c) Summer is changed up significantly and we have a “come if you can” policy. We need significantly less leaders with our summer schedule, so this works for us. c) We schedule events in a way that they are spread out significantly. We would rather do a few ‘big” events well, rather than many “poor” events that can tire out volunteers (and students).
2. Insist That Family Comes First: This often can take a while to sink in for my volunteers. Again and again I need to remind them that ministry needs to be a win for their family. Anytime they call me to miss a program or event because of family, I insist that “family always comes first…” In their minds they are often feeling guilty for “calling in”, but it’s my job to affirm healthy family. I have also found that when I take this approach with my volunteers, it actually creates greater loyalty since they I know care about them and their family first. It’s not just about “getting ministry done…” Read more