What To Do When You Don’t Have Enough Volunteers To Run The Ministry You Want

I was recently speaking at a conference about building a team of dynamic volunteers when someone asked, “What do I do if I can’t get adults to serve as leaders in my youth ministry?”

It’s actually a question that I get often. It’s something that’s happened to me several times. When you don’t have the people to run the ministry you want then it’s time to READJUST YOUR APPROACH.

In other words look at the different ways you can invest in the next generation. While a healthy youth ministry needs volunteers to thrive for the long haul there are some temporary solutions such as:


Your teens are meant to serve in and outside of the church. When you can’t find adults to pour into them you look for opportunities for them to pour into others. Start by:

  • Looking at simple ways to serve where they can form community
  • Plan out trainings where you invest in their leadership ability
  • Give them responsibility over an area and coach them to success

It’s not going to feel as relational as a small group program would; however, teens can still go deeper in their faith. It’s an opportunity to teach them how to:

  • Love those who are different from them
  • Work in teams with their peers and adults
  • Discover and discern their gifts and talents

To help teens grow as leaders I recommend checking out Leader Treks and Download Youth Ministry’s resources.


Instead of trying to organize an event plan on attending the ones that are already occurring like:

  • Sporting events
  • School plays and musicals
  • On top of that look at:
  • Chaperoning a school dance
  • Getting involved with school clubs
  • Coaching a rec team

You’ll not only be able to connect with the teens in their environments but interact more with their parents and other adults who could be potential leaders.


Youth ministry is a resource for parents. It can offer support by:

  • Sharing resources that equip parents
  • Planning events that bring parents closer together
  • Bringing in speakers that empower them
  • Creating a podcast or YouTube channel that educates them

By pouring into parents you can invest in the primary influence of their faith. Overtime parents will trust you and even give back and serve after their teens grow up and move away.

Nothing can replace a strong volunteer core; however, there are steps you can take to fill the void as you build. In the end it takes patience, persisistence, vision and trust that God will provide.

Question: What are some other alternatives to running a healthy ministry without volunteers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.