Youth ministry is hard. But do you know what’s even harder? Youth ministry without a great volunteer staff behind you.

These are the men and women who make your youth ministry shine. They’re working behind the scenes and with the students to make sure they’re having a great time and connecting with God.

Sadly, they’re also often overlooked.

Volunteer youth leaders are unpaid. They’re working a regular 40-hour-a-week job and still coming to help you lead your students.

Don’t let them go unappreciated and unprepared. As a youth pastor, you can help your volunteer youth leaders thrive in the role and help your youth group grow.

4 Things You Can Do To Help Your Volunteer Youth Leaders

  1. Train your volunteer youth leaders:

Most, if not all, of your volunteer youth leaders will have no formal training in youth ministry. They will have no experience in what a student truly needs.

They’re there because they have a heart and love for the students. This only goes so far in being effective.

These volunteer youth leaders need training. You can help provide training to your volunteers.

Training can be through a custom-made course you created. You can bring in a person who specializes in youth ministry and have them train your team. Or you can use the volunteer training Download Youth Ministry has already created.

  1. Equip your volunteer youth leaders:

Training your volunteer youth leaders is only the first step in helping them. The next priority is equipping your volunteer youth leaders for success.

Your youth leaders need to be equipped to handle the struggles that come from being a volunteer. There are plenty of ways you can equip your youth leaders.

You can pass along great articles you’ve read about youth ministry. You can create a youth leader book club for your team. You can even bring them along to youth leader conferences.

Your team will appreciate being properly equipped to deal with the problems students are facing these days. Equip them.

  1. Love your volunteer youth leaders:

Remember, your volunteer youth leaders are there because they love the students and know God will do miraculous works in their lives. They’re not being paid to be there.

How can you pay them? Training and equipping are ways to “pay” (invest in) them. There’s also a third way to pay them.

Love them.

People long to be loved. They want to know they’re cared for. You can do this for free.

Be a listening ear when they’re struggling. Tell them they’re doing a great job. Pour into their lives.

Letting your volunteer youth leaders know you love them will go a long way.

  1. Pray for your volunteer youth leaders:

The greatest thing you can do to help your volunteer youth leaders is to take time out of your day to pray for them. Make this a consistent habit.

Prayer moves mountains. Your youth leaders have mountains to be moved. Pray, pray, pray.

They may never know you’re praying for them. Yet the power and strength they’ll receive because of your prayers will change their lives and empower them.


Joseph Lalonde has been a volunteer youth leader for nearly 20 years. He has worked alongside youth pastors as they’ve grown their youth groups. He has a heart to see students find their place in Christ’s kingdom. He also has a passion to see young leaders rise up and become the men and women they’re meant to be through his ministry at