Creating A Healthy Volunteer Staff Culture

Let me start with this:  We cannot do it alone.  We can not do it without our volunteer staff. 

 They are a huge reason we as student pastors, directors, the person in charge; can even do our job.  We need loving adults to pour into our students.  People that will sacrifice their time to invest in the lives of young people. And when we get these people together, we form a community; a culture around us.  When we work as a team, we support each other and go out in these little armies to pour into and equip the youth of our world. 

 I want to touch on some important ideas that I think are crucial in creating a healthy volunteer staff culture. 

Relay the Vision
As the leader, be clear on what the vision of the group is.  When you consistently share the vision with your volunteer staff, they then can grab a hold and run with it.  When we understand what the purpose of investing in students is, then we can get on board and have more purpose behind what we are doing. 

Create a loving space
Make the time that you do spend together as a group, a safe place to share their feelings.  A space where they can openly give opinions and ideas, as well as share struggles and joys.  When you feel like you have a voice, you tend to feel more comfortable sharing.  Not only create this space amongst the whole group but also create that loving space within yourself as the leader.  Relay to your volunteer staff that your door is always open (if it is) and that it is a safe place for them to express concerns and ideas with you. 

Create ownership
Living in community means having people to bounce ideas off of.  Even if you think you have the best ideas in the world, there’s probably something better out there.  So, work with your volunteer staff to find those better ideas! Ask them what they think is a great game to have for this week’s group hang.  Ask them how they think we can better create leadership amongst the group. 

Living in community means having many different skill sets.  Take notice of what your leaders are good at and maybe delegate some of those things to them.  Have them lead prayer night.  Invite them into planning games for camp.  Ask them to head up your welcome area. 

When we create ownership in our leaders, they’re getting some skin in the game.  They’re able to see the vision and execute the vision.  Students see that and it may help them take more ownership in the vision of the group as well.  (That’s another thing to talk about – creating ownership in our students! When they catch the vision, people are reached.)

Celebrate your leaders
Be on the look out for awesome things that your leaders are doing!  Point that out to them one on one.  Point that out to the large group.  Show them that you notice what they are doing. 

Not only celebrate your leaders, but also celebrate with your leaders.  When we are on mission during our program days, it doesn’t leave much room for your staff to sit and mingle together.  So, set aside some fun team bonding things or a staff retreat.  Create space to laugh and play! 

Most importantly, set aside time to pray together and for your ministry.  Whether that’s at staff meetings, a meeting you have before your program days, or just calling them to pray; make sure that, that is a crucial part of your ministry. 

Thank you to every leader out there for doing what you do to be there for your students.  For being students’ biggest cheerleaders, sacrificing for them, crying with them, and praying for them.  You are a huge deal!

If you have any more ideas of how to create a healthy staff culture, please shoot them my way! I would love to hear them.  

Becca Ebenhoch
[email protected]
Guest Blogger
Becca has done youth ministry in various places across the US and is currently doing youth ministry in Modesto, CA.

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