The Importance of Volunteers

Tomorrow a guest post I wrote for MORF magazine will be published about recruiting volunteers.  It’s perfect timing because yesterday I was able to see the fruit of my volunteers abundantly.

We had a 3.5 to 1 youth to volunteer ratio yesterday.  In my early years in youth ministry I would have thought this was excessive, but I would have been so wrong.

Having a 3-5 to 1 youth to volunteer ratio frees you up to do SO much with your students. You can have your volunteers each do one or two of the little things that take you away from the youth.  I was able to have two volunteers pair up and each lead discussion groups which enabled me to float around a bit to different groups and hear a little bit of what each group was saying.

I had volunteers organize the clean-up, the snacks, and the supervision of some of the more “rowdy” youth.

Guys – I’m telling you – the more volunteers the better! Our youth LOVE to have adults there, too.  It makes them feel more like they’re a part of the Church as a whole – not just the youth group.

Make sure you say thank you to your volunteers – they’re awesome.  If you don’t have a lot, then go recruit!

I know this is more of a rant than a legit post, but I am so thankful for my volunteers and I wanted to share that with all of you.

5 Ways to See Your Students More

I love that a lot of us are being encouraged to make students a priority over administration, design, planning, etc. in 2013.  This is awesome! Here are a few things you can do to make sure you see your students more this year:

1) Invite them over for dinner.  This one is great – call the family and invite them over for dinner.  The best part? 9/10 times they will invite you over instead!  Free food and a lot of quality time with students. 

2) Go to as many of their events as possible.  Keep track of sports and extra-curriculars and go see your youth perform!  This one seems like a given, but it’s easy to forget unless it’s a student on the varsity football/basketball team.  Make sure you’re checking out the drama club and chess club, too. 

3) Pull random all-nighters.  Is your wife/husband out of town? Need something to do? Grab a few guys for a random all-nighter! Make sure you get another adult chaperone, a case of monsters, and a 5 lb bag of gummy bears.  Then plug in your X Box and you’re ready to go!  My students LOVE when I do this!

4) Get snapchat.  This is a great app that lets you send silly pictures back and forth with your youth.  Snapchat is notoriously connected with “Sexting”, so be careful that you’re not sending anything stupid (I know it would be funny to send that dude in your small group of picture of you mooning him, but it’s not the best idea).  This is a great way to “see” your students when you can’t hang out with them and it enforces that this app can be used for fun – not just sexting. 

5) Hang out with them at your programs.  This one seems glaringly obvious but is often the most overlooked on the list. Sometimes we’ll be so busy with the program itself that we forget to hang out with our students.  Make sure that you try to connect with as many students as you can when they come to your event!

What are some ways that you make sure you see more of your students every week?