A part of youth ministry is disappointment. Volunteers will quit when you are already short staffed. Teenager who are growing in faith will hit stumbling blocks. You’ll have parents no show after you’ve spent hours putting together a workshop for their benefit.
While you are allowed to be disappointed and angry, you also need realistic expectations. The goal in youth ministry is to CHALLENGE and ENCOURAGE. The problem is when we set people up to fail and discourage them instead.
To communicate and set realistic expectations you need to:
Losing a volunteer is never easy. It does not matter the reason because it can always feel personal. The question you need to answer is, “Is there something I could have done to prevent them from leaving?”
There are some situations that are completely out of our control. When life happens and people change it’s only natural to move on. It’s in those situations where you need to make sure the person does not feel guilty for leaving. But, then there are the situations you can control. What about them?
The reason a volunteer will leave your ministry is because:
“How could they mess this up?” I had sent my volunteers the link for the game, but none of them came prepared. There I was bailing them out once again. Then it dawned on me, “I don’t think I told them to do anything more than check the link out.”
It is frustrating when it feels like your volunteers are just not getting it. You think about all the reasons why they aren’t meeting expectations, when the reality the reason could be you. Before you blame your volunteers for being incompetent, complacent or disloyal, ask yourself whether or not you have:
The months of May and June are very busy for us. While we take a step back from the usual programming there are still a lot of tasks that need to be done. To reach our goals means rallying together our volunteers. That means plenty of meetings.
Meetings are important in youth ministry. They allow you to:
- Cast Vision
- Hash Out Ideas
- Celebrate Accomplishments
- Build Community
They have the potential to bring your ministry to the next level. BUT, they need to be done well A volunteer needs to feel like it’s worth their while or they will not show up. So before you plan that next meeting make sure you tackle these 4 tasks:
“Hmmm…where’s the leftover pizza?” That would be the question running through my mind late on a Sunday night after the high school students had left. I needed food to refuel my body, a bed to rest my head; however, what I needed the most was a little affirmation. For a long time I would always end a night seeking comfort because I felt like I had not met expectations. The question, “Did I do enough?” was the real question I struggled with.
Almost ten years later I still face that question. I know it’s one that I do not face alone. Maybe you’ve felt it. Maybe you’ve wondered, “Am I doing enough?”
In youth ministry there are always going to be expectations that we place on ourselves or are put there by others. Some are great because they’ll help us move forward and measure our success. The problem is when expectations are set in an unfair or impossible manner, such as: