6 days, that was the shortest amount of time I ever spent working for one employer. The job was restocking videos and working the register at the local video store in my home town. It really was a shame because I liked the idea of watching movies all day and getting paid for it; however, they had over hired and decided to cut my promised 35 hours a week to a measly 10. It was a clear decision that I was not needed and I wanted to make money; therefore, I left.
Every year youth ministers put themselves through the torture of wondering which ministers they’ll lose. Some of the reasons ministers leave is because of life change, like moving away or an increase in personal commitments. But, then there are times they leave because you didn’t give them a reason to stay. When you have volunteer ministers stay for years, the benefits are amazing. You gain support and wisdom to build a solid ministry team. If you want to lessen the turnover rate of volunteers in your ministry you need to:
- Give Them Room To Grow – How is your ministry structured? Are there multiple levels or is it you overseeing a team of doers? In order to keep the team together and keep it strong you need to create a system of promotion where doers become leaders. This means giving them leadership responsibility. It also means replacing yourself and giving others a piece of the puzzle. If you grow the structure you increase the ways you can reach others in your church and community.
- Show Them Value – One of the reasons men and women serve alongside of you is because they feel needed. They feel like they have a purpose to fulfill and you need to affirm them in that calling. There will be moments when ministry is difficult for them, and if they don’t feel needed then the chances of them giving up and walking away will rise. Be sure to thank them in creative ways, and praise them in public.
- Challenge Them – Raising them up as leaders isn’t just about giving them more responsibility, it’s also about challenging them. Youth ministries that play it safe will have a high turnover over volunteers because people want to be a part of an adventure. When big opportunities and challenges arise, don’t be afraid to delegate it to them. If they fail you can just pick them up, if they succeed it will take you to new heights.
If you want to keep your ministers around for years you need to learn how to grow with them. Ministry is a movement, it’s a journey and if it becomes anything less than that you can’t expect people to stick around. As a leader it’s your job to make sure that the team is appreciated, challenged and given room to grow. The stronger your team the bigger the impact you will have on the teens, church and community.
What steps do you take to keep ministers around long term?