It’s no secret that volunteers are needed for youth ministry, especially youth group meetings.
It can take a small village to help and support a youth group! From meal prep, to small group volunteers, to carpooling, youth directors and leaders need help pulling this whole thing off!
In this article, I’m going to break down how to find the best volunteers for the different niches and needs in youth group or for the youth ministry as a whole.
The categories I will cover are:
- youth group leaders
- chaperones for trips and outings
But before we get started, we have a free resource that might be just what you need. We put together an awesome Youth Group Prep List to help you get organized each week and never fall behind or miss a thing when it comes to planning your next youth group meeting. It just takes a second to sign up and get the list – and we’ve included links with it to all of our free resources to help you plan and prepare for your next youth group.
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Youth Group Volunteers
Okay, the hardest people to find out of the above list are the “volunteers for youth group leaders.” They are highly dedicated and individuals willing to undergo training…and they do not come by easily. These are the people who will lead small group breakouts, are at every youth group meeting time, and have a relationship with the kids. Because of the time commitment and dedication, they are the hardest to find, but of course, not impossible.
Here’s where to find youth group volunteers
- Ask the youth who the adults are that they like in the church. This is a great place to start! Keep in mind, they may only know visible and highly active church members, which might cause a problem because they are already serving elsewhere in the church. However, it never hurts to ask, because they might be a great fit for the youth or are interested in a change in their involvement with the church’s mission.
- Go to adult small groups, Bible studies, or Sunday school classrooms and provide pitches from the youth themselves about needing volunteer leaders for youth group.
- Ask people who are not serving anywhere currently. This might be a great fit for them!
- Ask college students on summer breaks to serve as interns or summer volunteer staff.
- Newlyweds are always great people to ask as well as young adults in the church post-college age.
- Have youth present their needs in front of the church, asking for help. Make sure you are ready to have a way to filter and process the response. Not everyone who says they want to work with youth can or should work with youth. An application process is great protection and filter.
- Actively pray for God to reveal people to you. When you receive names, invite them to sit down and talk with you. You can share that you prayed to God for who to ask and their name came to your heart. Personal invitations are always the best and have statistically proven to be very successful in my ministry.
- Ask your pastor or pastoral staff. Here’s a little secret nugget of information – I’m not sure I have ever met a pastor who didn’t have some kind of background in youth ministry. I think its a rite of passage for pastoral ministry. A lot of pastors will respond to this, but they will be very noncommittal due to the nature of their overall responsibilities.
- Ask parents. If you are in desperate need for youth group volunteers, ask parents. Parents will respond, but their hearts probably will not be in it if they are responding out of obligation.
How to find chaperones for trips and outings
This one is much easier, believe it or not. Many men will gladly volunteer for ski trips, mission trips and trips in general. I have found my most successful candidates in the age group of 20′, 30’s, and 40’s. The more adventurous the guy, the more these men will want to be part of the trip.
To find trip volunteers:
- Advertise in the bulletin.
- Make an announcement during the church service.
- Ask the youth who they would like to come on the trip with them. Then let the adults they requested know the youth want them to be part of this trip – that will make it extra hard to turn down!
- Ask other church members: “Who likes to travel and go on trips? Who is known for adventure in your congregation?” These are the people to target.
While it may be impossible with a lot of church budgets, its always best if you are able to offer the trip to be free for all chaperones. If they are donating their time and their services, you should aim in all possible ways to have the church pay for their spot, since they are volunteering and helping the church out by going. If your budget can’t carry this expense then you could wrap up the cost of the chaperones in the overall trip budget for the youth. Alternatively, you could plan to cover the expenses through fundraising.
Meal prep or provision
Food and youth group go hand-in-hand at many churches! Food is often important because meeting times tend to correspond with dinner time. But even if your youth group doesn’t meet at dinner time, youth are ALWAYS hungry no matter what time it is. This is why so many youth groups have a meal component as part of their scheduled time. One way to alleviate the financial burden to your ministry is to enlist people to provide meals for the youth.
- Ask parents (usually the Moms). Most parents will happily join the list for meal providing or preparation. Make a sign-up list so they can be locked in and remind them when their slot is coming up. Sign Up Genius has a great free service.
- Make a sign-up form online and fill it with slots.
- Make a sign-up poster outside of the sanctuary and have youth stand there before and after service asking people to sign up to feed them.
- Go to the older members of the church, they love to be part of youth ministry in a nondirect way. Drop by their Sunday School class or where the elders generally meet and give them a personal pitch, it will go a long way!
My middle school youth group exploded in when I had a teacher from a local Christian school start a shuttle service to get our middle school teens to youth group after school. Transportation is a barrier to youth group attendance for many youths. Any way your church can help with transportation will be a valuable asset for the growth of your group.
You should be aware of whatever policies your church has with child protection and transportation. You can find these through talking to your pastor or your church board. Sometimes these policies can prevent you from doing a shuttling service and in that case, you could talk to parents about creating a carpool.
If your church has a bus or van, it could be used to bring kids to and from the church for youth group. If the church has a vehicle, then there are often dedicated drivers you could ask to help or even set up a schedule.
Most churches have a process for adding new people to the list of vehicle drivers, so if you find someone willing to drive the church bus or van, but aren’t on the list of approved drivers, make effort to figure out that process for them and contact everyone who needs to be involved.
In addition, you can always start up neighborhood carpools and create a schedule to relieve parents from constantly driving to and from the church.
There are tons of people to draw from when looking for volunteers for youth ministry. Stay in prayer and keep letting people know the youth need more help. Be sincere, not desperate. Look for ways to communicate the youth’s needs and look for opportunities for the congregation at large to fall in love with ministry to youth. And remember the Lord is the One who truly calls people, so always remember this is not your burden. Depend on God to call forth people.
I’m sincerely hoping that a whole new group of individuals feel a pull from the Holy Spirit to come help out and volunteer in your youth ministry!
Hey! Don’t forget – we have an awesome free resource to help you stay on track preparing for youth group. Get our free Youth Group Prep List, which comes with links to our most popular ministry resources for youth group. Sign up below with your most reliable email and you will get the free planning sheet to help you stay on top of all the demands of youth group.