Research shows that the more students serve in their church, the more likely they will keep their faith throughout their time at college. It provides young people with concrete, lived experiences in the ministry that they can apply to their everyday lives. The mobilization of teenagers in the church has much more far-reaching implications than you might think.
Keeping young people mobilized has incredible benefits for your ministry. Are you tired of having unenthusiastic volunteers who rarely last longer than a year? Imagine a mobilized team that grows with your ministry, knows it inside out, and develops skills to bring to the table. When you take the time to make the most of the individualities of your teen ministry volunteers, it will pay off.
Keep data on how many young people are regularly involved in ministry and how long they last. This will make assessing how well your church is mobilizing teens much easier. And, ask them to complete a survey of satisfaction to see how content they are in their roles. Is there room for improvement in the mobilization of your community’s youth?
Try these top tips to make young people excited to serve in your ministry.
Do you offer exciting opportunities?
Think about what opportunities you have to offer for the students who want to get involved. Do you offer relevant jobs? Are there roles that feel significant? If your church has interesting volunteer opportunities, they will be far more likely to apply and stay in the position for long periods. So, carefully plan what your volunteers’ responsibilities will be before their first day.
If your volunteers spend the entire time on their shift doing nothing of significance, they will wonder what the point is. So, try not to waste the time of your teens who are excited to start serving for your ministry. You can offer training opportunities related to their interests and encourage skills sharing within your volunteer group—utilize the skills of your church workers.
Are you specific with the job requirements?
The church offers many volunteer opportunities for high school students. So, it is the best place to start youngsters on the right foot for a lifetime of volunteering and helping others. They will get the most from their experience serving in ministry if they have a specific job role that will give them a real sense of purpose. Volunteers will stick around if they see the positive impacts of their work.
When recruiting volunteers for church, rather than opening five "Preschool Volunteer" positions, try getting more specific. Instead, opening an opportunity for "Small Group Story Time Assistant" or "Elementary Production Assistant" will get young people interested in the role and inspired to serve. Your teens will feel far more respected and appreciated when they have a specific role that serves a purpose and makes a difference.
Is there room to grow within the role?
Volunteering for high school students is an invaluable opportunity for them to dip their toes into the world of work, ministry, and helping others all at once. So, above all, it should be a learning experience that provides them with life experiences and room to grow. Make sure your roles are accessible, with mobility between them if needed. Having a staggered system like this encourages teens to stick around and work hard.
If you see a young volunteer flourishing in a role for an extended period of time, give them the chance to take on more responsibility. Not only does this boost the efficiency of your ministry, as more jobs are taken care of by volunteers, but it also allows the volunteer to learn more skills. Similarly, offer a reward system for consistent volunteers, prioritizing them for new and exciting roles.
Do you support your church volunteers?
Yes, it is important to keep your young volunteers challenged and engaged, but don’t take this too far. If your teenage ministry workers feel overworked, under-appreciated, or generally stressed out by the job, they will quit. So, make sure you have systems in place to offer support and channels through which they can raise any concerns or issues. Buddy systems and clear team leaders are a great way to do this.
This is probably their first volunteering experience, so make sure it’s a positive one! Small gestures of thanks and goodwill go a long way in boosting morale within volunteer groups. Whether it's a shout-out in the weekly newsletter or a mention on your church Instagram page, share praise far and wide when it is due. Dedicate time to making your church a supportive and caring environment.
When managed right, church volunteering can be formative and incredibly rewarding for young people. Create roles that sound exciting for teenagers, like Preschool Theater Assistant to Social Media Content Creator, and watch them thrive with the responsibility. Meet youngsters where they are for mobilization that lasts and faith that stays strong.