Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:37-38
Isn’t it interesting that one of Jesus’ prayer requests was for those who would work in His harvest? The Jr. and Sr. High Youth Ministries are joining Him in that prayer as we are seeking God for volunteer staff who will join us in our ministry fields. I have been blessed by God to not only come to Christ in the RBC Youth Ministry (a while back), but to also to serve as the Youth Pastor here at RBC for over 26 years. One of the greatest gifts and most powerful tools God has blessed me with are the volunteer staff He has sent me. I am guessing that God may want you to join me in this mission field if you have read this blog entry to this point but you may be thinking that you need to be young, cool, tech-savvy, and able to play video games to apply – you would be wrong.
I would invite you to read an article I found recently called The Perfect Youth Ministry Volunteer (the article is below) and see if God is indeed calling you to put your love for the Lord, His Word, and your gifts to work in the lives of our teens. If you read the article and sense His calling in this area, email me at email@example.com. I would love to talk with you.
Bob Shull, Youth Pastor
The Perfect Youth Ministry Volunteer
By Youth Specialties on May 23, 2012 | Chris Dortch, Youth Pastor in North Carolina
What would the “perfect” youth ministry volunteer look like? I think I have an answer, but first let’s address some of the myths.
Myth #1 “You’ve got to be cool.” Let’s face it, we probably weren’t that cool in high school and we’re certainly not cool as adults. Students don’t need someone to be cool, they need authenticity. If you are willing to be yourself around teenagers, you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.
Myth #2 “You’ve got to be young.” Sometimes we think that the 20-somethings “relate better” to teenagers because of their age. Most teenagers have a hard time telling the difference between at 25 year-old who is married and a 37 year-old who is married (they are both “old”). Research shows that teenagers are actually drawn to the oldest person in the room who will listen to them and take them seriously. If you are willing to listen to teenagers and take their problems seriously, you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.
Myth #3 “You’ve got to act like a teenager.” There is a difference between being child-like and being childish. One of my youth ministry heroes, Duffy Robbins says, “Teenagers don’t need adults who act like teenagers. They need adults who don’t freak out when teenagers act like teenagers.” If you can act like an adult and not “freak out” when teenagers act like teenagers, then you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.
Myth #4 “You’ve got to a Bible scholar.” Sure, we want you to know something about the Bible, but we don’t expect you to have all of the answers. In John 9, the man born blind gives us a great example of how to respond to questions we don’t know the answers to, “Whether Jesus was a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know, I once was blind but now I can see!” If you are willing to help students discover answers to their questions, you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.
Myth #5 “You’ve got to know everything in teen culture.” It’s okay if you don’t listen to Justin Bieber and you still listen to Abba on vinyl. Students want you to be you. Many of them would even love to hear stories about the time you were in a KISS cover band! If you don’t know who Justin Bieber is, you’re the perfect candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.
If these aren’t the things that teenagers are looking for, what do they need in an adult volunteer?
Reality #1 “Students need adults who will live a life honoring to God.” Students are searching for adults who are authentic in their walk with Christ. If there is one thing that teenagers have a keen ability to spot, it is fake people.
Reality #2 “Students need adults who are interested enough to learn their name.” Students want to know if adults care enough to remember their names. When I first came to Christ Community Church over ten years ago, I had a middle school girl ask, “Do you know my name?” To my embarrassment, I had no clue. I told her that if she reminded me of her name one last time, I would make sure that I knew it the next week. I will never forget Alice.
Reality #3 “Students need adults who are interested in their life.” Students need adults who will spend time with them, pray for them, say an encouraging word, believe in them, and simply laugh with them. Students want to know if you are willing to come into “their world” and discover who they are.
Reality #4 “Students need adults who are consistent with their attendance.” Students are familiar with adults who come in and out of their lives like a revolving door. Teachers change from semester to semester. Parents change from alternating weekends. Teenagers need to know which adults are going to be consistent in their life. This is one of the reasons that I have committed to youth ministry for nearly twenty years.
Students may ask it this way, “Do you care about me? Do you know my name? Will you be here next week?” If you are willing to show teenagers you care about them, willing to learn some names, and be consistent with your attendance… YOU are the perfect youth ministry volunteer. We believe that every teenager needs five godly adults who are investing in their lives. When a student in our church’s youth group is asked, “Who are the most influential adults in your life?” We want their parents and adults from our student ministry to be in their top five!