Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

Trial By Fire

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Leadership, Youth Ministry
Tags: , ,

Let me first start off by saying that I don’t get sick very often. Maybe one time a year and it’s just the sniffles. Recently, I hired an intern. He’s been working for me for about 2 months so I’m still getting to know him, his gifts, talents, etc.

Well, it was a Wednesday morning and I woke up sick…I mean really sick. I felt like I was laying on my death bed. I waited a couple of hours and let my intern know that he would probably have to lead the lesson that night because I was not going to make it that evening. His response? “Do you want me to continue with your series?” No hesitation on his part. This gains points in my mind for the success of this future leader. Granted I didn’t get to hear his message or watch his leadership, but from what I’ve heard so far, the night went well.

It really pays to have an intern! This was one of those “trial by fire” times.

But I also want to/have to say this. When I texted all my leaders about how I wouldn’t be there because I was sick and that the intern would lead the night…one leader responded, “Get better soon! We got it”. I truly have the best leaders a youth pastor can have. I hope and pray that they know how thankful I am for each and every one.

Thank your youth leaders today! They deserve it!


One of the things I hate doing in youth ministry is saying good-bye to great leaders who are moving on from youth ministry. Unfortunately, it’s part of the ministry. What makes it harder is when it’s a leader who has invested many years into the lives of students. These are the leaders youth pastors dream of…they’re irreplaceable. So how do you fill their spot? There lies my problem. I’ve had such longevity of great, quality youth volunteers that I have almost lost the art of recruiting. Time to recall those skills and get to work!

There are things you hate about doing in youth ministry and there are things you love. I love to brag on people in my youth ministry. This post is bragging about 2 people. One is a student that graduated out of our youth ministry a few years ago and the other is a Senior this year. I asked for graphics in promoting the start of our school year and our kick-off events. Here’s what they came up with. So proud of Levi and Arianna. They did great work. I’m so excited about they’ll come up with next!

I’ve been back in the office for about 3 weeks after a 3 month sabbatical. Can I tell you how much I’ve gotten done? Hardly ANYTHING! Here’s why.

One week after returning I had our Sr. High missions trip. This trip was to help set up and run Sonshine Music Festival. We ran stage crew where we set up all the stages, lights, and sound. Then during the actual festival we helps the bands on and off stage with their gear. This was the fun part.

The following week, I had to preach. This process took longer than normal for me to prep. I don’t really know why other than God has really been working in my personal life, teaching me things, that I didn’t know where to start or exactly what to hone in on for a message to my church.

What’s going on this week? VBS. We all know that when VBS is going on, none of the staff really get anything done. So between hanging out with the teens and driving the bus for the “after parties” I’m try to even brainstorm ideas for the upcoming school year. One thing I’m coming across and wondering is something more important….leaders. I need to recruit more leaders for our growing ministry and leaders transitioning out.

I love to give my volunteer staff gifts. It’s one of my favorite things to do, but… sometime money in youth ministry can be pretty tight. Our budgets are typically the smallest of church budgets, so we have to get creative when it comes to gift giving. Here are some simple things I’ve done in the past for my volunteer staff.

Framed Bible Verse – I know it sounds cheesy, but it actually turned out better than I thought. I bought inexpensive frames at a local department store. Then I talked to each leader and asked what their favorite bible verse was. Once I received everyones I went to Wordl to make a word cloud. This was basically free because I just printed them off in color on my printer. Put a little ribbon or bow on it and there you have it…a cool gift that brings God’s Word.

Bag ‘O Treats – One day I wanted to really surprise my leaders for Halloween so I bought some bags of Halloween candy, some padded envelopes that I had laying around, put in a note and mailed it. It was great getting the emails, texts, and phone calls thanking me for that surprise.

Gift Cards – Ok, so this isn’t the most creative or cost efficient, but I had to put it out there. I typically give gift cards for a couple of reasons. One, I write in the card that it’s for them and their spouse to use on a date night. Two, I like to send these gifts in the mail. It’s always a nice surprise to get something that’s not junk or a bill in the mail.

What creative gifts do you/have you given or received?

With the new year here and Christmas gone…I have to admit that I waited until the last minute to get my leaders Christmas gifts. Why? 2 reasons. One, that’s how I role…last minute. I think it really annoys my wife especially when it comes to getting gifts for family, her, holidays, etc. But I guess I’m your typical guy that doesn’t pay attention to those details. Two, because I didn’t have enough money in 2010’s budget for gift giving. I had to wait for my YM budget to start over to have any money.

So, if you’re one of my volunteer staff…I have a gift for you and I’m sending them in the mail to you this week. (Or I might just hand it to you at youth group.)

I’m wondering what others do for gifts for their staff. Do you get creative?

So I’ve been wrestling with this whole ‘leadership’ thing. Like, what is leadership? How do you know if you’re good at it? How do you know if you are bad at it? I wonder why I’ve been so caught up in this topic. Maybe in the back of my mind I question my leadership skills. I wonder if those that I am ‘leading’ are thinking about my leadership. I suppose I could just ask them. In fact, that thought has crossed my mind. What types of question would you ask? Would you come out and simply and bluntly ask, “Rate my leadership.”

To evaluate your leadership, what do you do? How do you get feedback?