Not IT!: Tips for Working with Youth Ministry Volunteers

By Kelly Peterson

So you’re a small church, a rural church, and you can’t afford a youth worker or pastor, and your senior pastor cannot take on youth ministry on top of all the other hats he/she wears. I hear this often. Please, please don’t think you cannot have an effective, vibrant youth ministry unless you pay someone.

I always shake my head when I get a call from a church that wants to hire a quarter time youth worker. They do one event and they’re tapped out for hours for the month? In fact, with the new laws around non-exempt employees, I have a few churches that are struggling to make it work with even a half time youth worker without overtime kicking in. So what is the solution? Many small churches and/or rural churches have found the use of volunteers to be a very positive experience. However, they are most effective when the ministry is created intentionally with volunteers rather than selecting someone who happens to be absent or leaves the room during a meeting. Here are some tips that have been found to help your volunteer youth ministry be successful.