About a year ago one of my volunteers came to me and expressed interest in leading a student mission trip. This volunteer had been serving in a variety of roles over my tenure and she felt that she was ready to take on more leadership. I thought and prayed over the situation and gave her the reigns. Last week she successfully lead several students in a powerful week and took her volunteer commitment to an entirely new level. She became a true leader.

If you want your ministry to grow, you need to allow other people to lead. Picking out leaders in your congregation is not always an easy task. In fact finding natural born leaders is not always easy, sometimes they need to be cultivated. To take a volunteer and shape them into a leader you need to:

  • Empower Their Purpose: The reason you might struggle recruiting and retaining volunteers is because you approach them as a personal need. Instead of approaching volunteers with an “I need you” mentality, try a, “I want to equip you” mentality. The purpose of volunteers is to extend your capacity so that you can reach more teens, not to make your life easier.
  • Treat Them Like Employees: When you treat your volunteers like employees they’ll take your ministry more seriously. That means setting guidelines, creating and clarifying expectations. Invest in them by giving them the proper resources and trainings that will help them grow in the youth ministry field. If your volunteers feel like employees they’ll feel like they are a part of the team.
  • Exploit Their Strengths: When you delegate responsibility to your volunteers make sure it’s with responsibilities that will exploit their strengths. When you put your best people in the biggest opportunity, you give them the ability to use their God given gifts and talents. Not only will your ministry thrive, but they will feel the joy one receives from living out God’s will.
  • Lead By Example: Leaders follow other leaders. Show them the characteristics that you want in a leader. That means doing self evaluations and receiving feedback from trustworthy individuals on how you lead. Make sure you are leading with humility, love and authenticity. If you are not a healthy you won’t do a great job of raising up quality leaders.

Recruit more volunteers with the hope to build them up to be leaders. The more leaders the farther your capacity extends. You’ll be able to fuel the vision of your ministry, and build a strong strategy that will take you there. Make volunteers a priority.

How do you shape future leaders for your ministry?