Youth ministry is full of targets.
If we’re not aiming at something, we’re aiming at nothing.
So, we make targets for lots of things. And, those targets become expectations or measuring sticks. They’re the goals we set for ourselves and for our team.
Here’s just one example of how this plays out in youth ministry.
When I meet with a new volunteer, I give them targets. Not literal targets, but a clear list of things that I expect them to aim at. Volunteers need to know from the beginning what they are committing to and how they can succeed at it. They need clear expectations and practical goals.
Ultimately, they need to know what they are aiming at, or they will aim at nothing.
So, with that in mind, here are ten targets I want my new volunteers to aim at…
- Personal spiritual growth target—new volunteers need to know how important their own relationship with God is if they want to make a lasting impact in students’ lives. I want my volunteers to know that committing to their own spiritual health through practicing spiritual disciplines like personal Bible study is the best way that they can prepare to lead well.
- Personal integrity target—new volunteers need to know what your expectations are in terms of their own personal lifestyle choices. They need to know that who they are at church and outside of church can have a huge impact on the students (good and bad). So, it’s good to be clear on what your expectations are when it comes to things like social media, drinking/partying, cohabitation, etc.
- Church engagement target—new volunteers need to know what you expect of them in terms of their own church attendance and engagement. This will vary depending on your approach, but you need to be clear on whether or not you expect your volunteers to attend your church every week or just a church.
- Ministry engagement target—new volunteers need to know exactly what you are asking them to commit to over a ministry year. Depending on how your ministry is set up, you may be asking them to commit to leading a weekly small group, participating in monthly large group events, or other retreats/activities. The bottom line is that they need to know what they’re aiming at as volunteers in your program.
- Student connection target—new volunteers need to know the importance of making connections with the students in your ministry. Effective youth ministry volunteers do not act like chaperones. They act like mentors. They invest in students both at youth group and outside of youth group. And, they need you to be clear on what you expect of them (especially when making connections with students outside of the church walls).
- Program night target—new volunteers need to know what you want them to do on your regular program nights. What are some specific things that you value in a volunteer? A few of my program night targets include: be early, greet students by name, introduce yourself to visitors, and work at having at least one significant conversation with a student each week.
- Small group leader target—new small group volunteers need to know what you are asking of them as a small group leader. What are the things that you value in a small group leader? A few of my targets include: be prepared by reading through the discussion questions and verses, be willing to share personal application examples from your own life (as appropriate), and pray for/with your students.
- Communication target—new volunteers need to know some basic expectations when it comes to communication with you as the youth leader and with other volunteers. This includes things like how to deal with conflict, how to handle confidential information, and communicating with parents.
- Team-building target—new volunteers need to know what you expect of them when it comes to things like volunteer team meetings and other team-building activities. What are you asking them to aim for? Weekly team meetings? Monthly team gatherings? Whatever it is, make it clear ahead of time.
- Grace target—new volunteers need to know all the things that you want them to aim for, but they also need to know that you don’t expect them to hit the bullseye every time. We’re all going to miss targets at some point. So, while you want to be clear on what everyone is aiming at, you also want to communicate that we need to give grace to each other in the process.
Those are my ten targets…my ten things I want new volunteers to know. What other things do you want your new volunteers to know? What targets are you giving them to aim at in your ministries?