Recently in a youth ministry seminar the presenter asked the question, “How many of you feel like you have enough volunteers in your ministry?” One guy raised his hand. The rest of the room wanted to punch him in his smug, little, “I’m awesome” nose.
Because almost nobody who leads a youth group feels like they have enough volunteers, a popular discussion when we get together is sharing ideas to help persuade/recruit/guilt-trip/trick/entice folks to join our youth ministry team.
I’d like to share with you the world’s easiest way to get new volunteers: JUST ASK.
Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask. And when you get rejected, ask.
- Bulletin announcements are fine, but not as good as an ask.
- The senior pastor pleading from the pulpit is great, but not as good as an ask.
- A youth ministry booth at the annual ministry fair is fun, but not as good as an ask.
Who should you ask? Everybody. If there is an adult who loves Jesus and likes teenagers, ask.
Who should do the asking? You, your current volunteers, your students. Believe it or not, the most effective asks usually come not from the “paid spokesperson” (you), but from the “satisfied customers” (current volunteers and students). When a teenager approaches an adult and asks if he/she would be willing to help out in their youth group, it’s tough to turn down. When a current volunteer tells a peer that serving in the youth group is rewarding and worth the time commitment, it makes a powerful statement.
Don’t say somebody else’s “no.” I first heard this from Bill Hybels. Too often we assume somebody is too busy, uninterested etc. so we say “no” on their behalf without ever actually asking them to serve. Don’t assume. Don’t say somebody else’s “no.”
There are probably more people in your church willing to work with students than you think. You just have to ask!
Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4 percent of his time.
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