Student Ministers needs a team around him or her to be effective. This isn’t breaking news or anything a student minister doesn’t know. However, one issue that comes up from time to time is that no matter how great or big the Student Ministry Team is, a lot of people in the Church will think that the Student Minister does all the work.
When people have the mindset about the Student Minister and Volunteer teams, this can become a big problem. This is a problem because we all know volunteers do more than what others see. But it is also becomes a problem when the student minister leaves the Church. I have personally experienced this twice when my Church has had to let go of the student minister and the question I have gotten most is, “How will the student ministry go on”? The good news is that both times we have had great teams in place that we were able to carry on with the ministry quite well. And your Church can do the same if you have a team in place.
Regardless of how great your Volunteer team is, there will still be people who wonder and question about a drop off in the program. So how do you prevent this? It’s really quite simple really. You highlight them.
Here is how you can highlight your team so that more people will be aware of who they are and what they do:
- Make sure the Church knows there is a team in place. Whether you call them up on stage to introduce your team to the whole Church, share about them in a leader spotlight email or even have information about them at the Youth Table, make sure people know
- Have your team visible and leading during meetings. It’s natural the student minister would lead often and be up front a good amount. But that doesn’t mean he/she needs to be upfront leading EVERYTHING. In fact, if that is the case, you are not setting your volunteers up to be successful with students. If you want to highlight your leaders, give them up front roles and responsibilities. Even if they are a little uncomfortable being up front use this as an opportunity to help them become more comfortable there so students will become more comfortable as them as leaders.
- Make sure students know who they are. This happens when leaders are up front but this also happens when leaders have opporutnites to spend time with students. This is part the leaders responsibility by doing contact work with students. But it is also the student minister’s job to set his/her leaders up so that students feel comfortable with them. Each leader is different so as you get to know your leaders and what gifts they have, make sure that they are visible and interacting with students during gatherings or other student ministry activities.
- Make sure parents know them. A lot of times the Student Minister is the direct contact with parents. However, if you really want your volunteers to be known and valued for their contributions, set up ways for parents to get to know the volunteers. An easy win is simply having volunteers meet every parent of whose child they minister to. That way parents can get to know them and feel comfortable with them. You maybe even want to consider having a leader/parent get together a few times a year so they can have some time together. One way you can encourage volunteers is to encourage them to do contact work with parents and have regular communication with them. This isn’t where you share all the secrets kids share with the leaders. Rather this is a time for leaders and parents to get to know each other and find ways to partner together.
Student ministry is more than just a one person show. You need a team to be effective. However, it takes more than just having a team in place to be effective. You need to highlight them and have them very visible to students, parents and the Church so that they know there is more than just the Student Minister in place to minister to students. That is why it is always the great to highlight your volunteer team. The more you can get in the habit of doing it now the better it is for students, parents, the Church and the Student Ministry as a whole for the long term.
What about you? How have you highlighted your volunteer team to make sure students and parents know who they are and are comfortable with them? Share your thoughts and experiences below or on social media using #ymsidekick when you share.