When working with volunteers in junior high ministry it is key for us to understand that there is a balance between what we can expect from them and what they can expect from us. It is interesting to sit down and talk with people about expectations because in many cases if you don’t discuss it then there are no expectations.
Have you ever had a conversation with a leader that said, “I just don’t know what to do?” Or maybe you have talked to that volunteer that says, “Well I thought that is what you wanted from me!” If we don’t communicate clearly with our volunteers then they will each be trying to do whatever they think is best for the ministry. Many times this doesn’t work though.
The problem is that many times volunteers see things differently than each other. One volunteer may think it is fun for the students with the Hawaiian Punch to see if they can throw it up in the air and see if it will bounce or break. Other volunteers obviously see that this might not be the best idea to do on the new carpet in the sanctuary.
There are a few steps we can take to clarify the vision of our ministry for our volunteers.
We have to communicate clearly and define roles within our junior high ministry. Let volunteers know exactly what you want from them. Let your attendance taker know how important that job is and why you need them to focus on it. Show your Bouncer or Crowd Control People why you need them. Let them know how that frees you to focus on the message instead of problems.
Give everybody a role. Don’t tell somebody you don’t have a specific job for them. Be creative and let them know they have value. Even if it is a simple task it can allow them to grow and makes them feel responsible and a part of all that happens in your ministry.
It is impossible to over communicate with adult leaders. Let them know what is going to happen ahead of time. Remind them the day before what you need them to do. Check with them after an event and see if they have any ideas and suggestions for your next meeting.
Take advantage of a different viewpoint and different sets of eyes. Sometimes a volunteer can see why something didn’t work out quite as well as we wanted it too, and they can help you improve for the future.
Let volunteers know that they haven’t made a lifetime commitment to junior high ministry. It is important for people to commit to a period of time to build relationships with students, but encourage volunteers to take time off. Let them know that they have freedom to plan a Sunday off just like you do. The key is communicating in advance and preparing for the absence.
If we take some time and focus on our volunteers then they are only going to be more excited and passionate about working with junior high students. What great ideas do you have for working with volunteers? I would love to hear what you do.