One statement you might hear a lot of from potential volunteers that are searching for an area to serve in your church is “I love the idea of working in youth ministry but they scare me”.  This post comes after talking to a few volunteers that expressed their feelings after diving head first into volunteering in our ministry.  Some of the fears they expressed were:

  • They’re not cool enough.
  • Interesting enough (students might not like me).
  • They don’t know enough.
  • They don’t have the “know how” to deal with students in crazy situations.
  • They might think I’m to old to know anything.

I got to thinking about the volunteers that pass on serving in youth ministry because of these fears.  The question came to mind “is there a way for us to be proactive in calming these fears in potential volunteers”? Something for us to think about in terms of how we advertise for volunteers.  Sometimes we might be putting more pressure in just how we advertise for leaders.  Maybe we should be more specific in their particular roles at the event or program in advertisement.  At times, our thinking is simply “lets get the event out there”, which could give the potential leaders preset conditions on what their roles will be if they were to throw their hat in to help out.

The first thing that came to my mind when I was a potential leader was “I want to serve but I’m an adult and I have nothing in common with a student, what can I offer them”?  Being on the other side four years later I came up with a few ideas that could possibly proactively ease the fears of potential volunteers that thought like me.

  • Pray against these fears as we reach out for leaders. Prayer is a must because there is a spiritual battle going on for students.  We can never have enough of the right leaders and we don’t want the fear of their uninformed insecurities stopping them from serving.
  • Advertise the event separately – volunteers from students.  Advertising separately to potential leaders will allow you the ability to be more specific of the need and kill the stereotype that they need to be a hiphop, cool, slang talking, know all the new dance moves, and watch all the new TV shows, wear vans and snap back hats type of leader. haha
  • Advertise that your team is accessible to get coffee with potential volunteers who may have questions or fears about serving in youth ministry. I would even be blunt in your attempt to calm their fears about working with students.
  • Open house for potential Life Group Leaders where you can put their fears to rest. Maybe this could happen two times a year. Once before Fall calendar and once before Summer calendar.  This would be a great chance to open the door to new potential volunteers.

I believe the key is to try and be proactive in calming the fears we know most first time leaders have.

So I have two questions:

How do you advertise for volunteers?

Will you share an idea you might have on how we can be proactive in calming the fears of potential volunteers?

hope it helps

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