I get excited every time we have a new adult volunteer. First time volunteers are a sign that our team is growing and that the vision is being shared through different voices. It’s one more person that I get to invest in and encourage to see why their presence matters.

While it’s exciting for me, I know it can be nerve wracking for a first time volunteer to walk into youth ministry for the first time. Teens can be unpredictable. These newbies might not know what to expect, how the teens will react to them or whether this is the right place to serve. To calm their nerves and set up first time volunteers for success you need to:

  • Touch Base Ahead Of Time: You new volunteer might be excited and they might be nervous before that first night. Give them a call or send them a note letting them know how happy you are that they will join you. Get them excited and give them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have.
  • Meet Them Early: Make sure they arrive early and make sure you are there before them. Make sure the first thing they see is your welcoming face. By getting there early you again can cover any questions or topics face to face. First time volunteers also need time to acclimate, and get used to being in your church at a different time. Help them break in smoothly.
  • Partner Them With A Pro: Have your first time volunteers shadow someone who is familiar and confident with the ministry. While following you around is helpful they can get a more helpful insight from someone who has walked in their shoes. Plus, learning from you might be a little intimidating because you are staff while a fellow volunteer is someone they might relate to better.
  • Follow Up For Their Feedback: You’ll want to get a first time volunteer’s thoughts after their experience. What did they see? How did they feel? What was clear and what wasn’t? Ask questions and learn from the fresh perspective. Thank them for their feedback so that they feel like they are contributing towards the vision.

First time volunteers are essential to the makeup of your ministry. They are not only potential veterans, but fresh eyes that can help you improve your ministry. Embrace their excitement, set them up for success and lead them to grow this next generation.

How do you welcome and orient first time volunteers?