Some youth workers aren’t very good at math.
Let’s do a little simple math (stolen from my The Skinny on Volunteers book) about recruiting volunteers.
If you lead a youth ministry and you take an honest look at the time you spend with teenagers each week, you could go out on the front lines and spend 20 hours a week with students by yourself.
You put in 20 hours, and reap 20 hours of impact.
20 = 20
Or you could take that same block of time, spend 10 hours with students, and 10 hours a week developing 10 volunteers so that they eventually can EACH spend 5 volunteer hours (50 hours total) a week with students.
Add their 50 hours to your 10. That’s 60.
You put in 20 hours and reap 60 hours of impact.
20 = 60
This model isn’t just good math; it’s scriptural. Jesus devoted time to the crowds, but he also spent time developing the Twelve (Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 10), not to mention the 70+ regulars who were also gleaning from his teaching (Luke 10)—probably the same group from which they chose Judas’ replacement (Acts 1). These guys not only helped Jesus while he was here on earth, they also continued his ministry when he was gone.
Think about that. Jesus spent time reaching the crowds hands on… and he also spent time developing his leaders.
Ask yourself honestly:
Do you regularly do both?
Because if I’m being completely honest, in my personal interaction with literally hundreds of youth workers each year, I think the overwhelming majority don’t even spend an hour a week investing in recruiting, keeping, or training their volunteers.
Seriously. Not even an hour.
Consider what this might look like in your ministry if you spent just 2 hours a week.
And if you’re saying, “I don’t have time,” please consider this: what if you developed teachers who saved you weekly prep time? What if you recruited office help who did many of the logistical tasks you get buried in? What if you trained leaders who would launch entire ministries without you? These volunteers would all save you time.
And what if you found 10 caring adults who were willing to hang out with kids for just a few hours per week? Think about the impact.
Or you could just do it all yourself.
How Do We Do It?
For most of us, the question isn’t if we want volunteers—the question is how we get them and keep them.
If that’s you… you’re not alone. And that’s exactly why I wrote this skinny little book that you can read in less than an hour, giving you three simple skills that will help you mobilize and equip leaders for the work of the harvest:
and training volunteers.
That’s the skinny on volunteers.