We can’t do this ministry by ourselves! While it might be possible to take a group of students on a trip in the church van alone, there’s always a high likelihood that you misplaced a receipt, got lost on the way, or somehow lost a kid!

And I know I’m not the only one who really wishes there were someone else in the audience to help keep students focused and on task when I’m teaching a message or leading a game. For crowd control and to prevent receiving as many angry parent emails, volunteers are an integral part of any Youth Ministry! So how do you get them? Speaking from the Sunday morning pulpit might not be your best bet. Instead, try these four tips:

  1. Ask parents to help make student ministry better: Some youth pastors don’t like asking parents to serve in ministry. Maybe it’s because they feel like students can’t be themselves if mom or dad is hanging around. Sometimes it’s because a Youth Pastor might feel intimidated by parents. Odds are, they’re older than you, and it might feel weird having volunteers around who are twice your age or could legitimately be your parent.The real reality is that they are invested in Youth Ministry going well! These are their kids we’re talking about! Parents can make the best volunteers because they have an inside track on what’s going on in their students’ lives, and they want the ministry to thrive.
  2. Ask students who want to help lead the youth group: You might be surprised about how perceptive students are. Or maybe you know that students can tell who they would like to be around. If you were to ask a couple of students in your youth group who they would like to see volunteering in the student ministry, odds are that they have some names from your church.They may not be the people you would’ve chosen first, but if you ask them to serve because students mentioned them by name, you might find yourself a really helpful ally in your ministry journey!
  3. See who naturally hangs around: When you have a youth group, is there somebody who is hanging out with the kids throwing a football in the parking lot? Is there someone who pops in just to help set up chairs or ask if you need any more snacks? Are there people who ask to be involved in Youth Ministry? This might seem like an easy win, but the reality is people might not volunteer if they’re not asked.When you see people at church naturally gravitating towards students, they might be worth getting to know a little bit better, and seeing if they would be a good fit for serving in the student ministry! Make sure to watch out for older church members as well who take time out of their day to stop and talk to students. Don’t ever discount a volunteer because they might be too old! If they love Jesus and like kids, they might be a great volunteer!
  4. Ask those already serving: Does your church have people who already like to help, maybe they cook in the kitchen or hand out coffee or open doors before service. People who like to serve usually are looking for more ways to serve! There might be some church members who do too much and need to take a break, but don’t discount people or try to be the Holy Spirit for them. Ask if they would be willing to serve in student ministry and let them pray about it!

Have I missed any ways that you’ve recruited volunteers at your church? I’d love to hear them!

And need some resources getting these new volunteers on board? Check these out: