No Youth Volunteers = No Youth Ministry

18 09 2008

Let’s define a Youth Volunteer. There are a couple of words that come to my mind: crazy, radical, caffeinated, brave, & dreamers.

Crazy. It takes a crazy person to spend the hours it takes to build a trust relationship with teenagers that have been hurt, abused, & insecure. Most of the time you will get a smirk, maybe a smile…you don’t get to see the “fruit” (such a churchy word!) that night. But yet, you still show up. You still go after those life changing moments sitting on the bleachers with the youth taking about their favorite band or playing a game of “horse” on the court. You take time off of work, call in sick, or even use vacation time to go hang out with smelly young people that know everything about everything…that is just crazy!

Radical. A Youth Volunteer steps out of their shoes & walks in a teenagers shoes. The best leaders are the ones that relate to the youth, where the youth are at. For example, Kenn Pritchard was a youth leader for me. He knew that music motivated me. Instead of hammering the Bible at me (which wouldn’t have worked) he found my joy (music) & introduced me to some christian rock & rap. Kenn was a radical! Webster defines radical as “extreme”. Youth Volunteers find out what motivates a teen & uses it to share the Gospel. That’s radical, because most would present the Bible the way they were presented. Youth volunteers take the Gospel & radically mold it to where the youth are. Jesus did ministry the same way…safe bet to say that He was radical!

Caffeinated. Let’s use Wednesdays for example. I get at the church at 8ish am. I might hit a fast food restaurant on a Walmart run, but I live at the church on Wednesdays. I leave around 9ish pm. I am cool with that, it’s my full time job! Youth Volunteers have a full time job and then choose to spend several hours with the youth after a long day at the office. The youth take notice of who’s there and who isn’t. They may not admit to it, but it shows how important they are when adults are there waiting for their arrival. It takes some energy to invest in young people! Can we say broom hockey, retreats, banquets, lock-ins, or car washes (just to name a few!).

Brave. It’s hard to stay in touch with what’s going on in the millennium culture. MTV, VH1, pop radio, iTunes, Wii games, etc. How many grown ups would watch, “the Hills” because it’s the greatest show ever (I admit, I watch it for Spencer…ha!). It’s brave to cut off CNN and flip to VH1 and then talk about it with teenagers. How many adults would be able to look a teen in the eye, and ask, “what’s wrong?” & then take the time to actually help. Teenagers ask HARD questions too! Youth Volunteers have to be brave. Society really talks down on teens, but youth volunteers build them up. Being brave is all about stepping out of your comfort zone & doing something that your neighbor probably wouldn’t do! That is a youth volunteer!

Dreamer. This is my favorite attribute, because I am a dreamer. I see any building & it transforms into a youth building. Ha, the coffee shop I am at right now would be a great hang out for a Friday night! Youth Volunteers do the same. They see a youth walk in & they look past the youth smelliness (let’s ban AXE!), awkward clothing (or lack of), attitudes, gossip, or stereotypes (“you are so emo!”). Instead, they see a young person that is trying to find themselves in a culture that is constantly changing. They see a young person that is trying to find some hope. A young person that needs a hug or encouragement because there is none at home or school. A young person that needs a high five for….for just being them. Then they dream about what God could do. Not only that, but they take action with that dream!

There are so many more qualites of a good youth volunteer. This is just the tip of the iceberg! As I sit at this coffee shop, I can’t help but think about our youth group. Last night was awesome, & we had so many adult youth volunteers that made it happen. If I could buy them all a new car, a house, or even a life long supply of Starbucks…it could never be enough to repay them for all that they do to make an impact in the teenagers life. Youth Volunteers across the world, thank you. Thank you for being crazy, radical, caffinated, brave, & dreamers.




4 responses

18 09 2008
No matter what the price I will give to you now « The View Outside is Pretty

[…] Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: camp, christianity, openness, youth ministry I was reading this blog today. Which talks about there is no youth group if there are no youth volunteers. He talks about […]

18 09 2008

I love this post!!! It is so true… not only of our volunteers, but of volunteers that have touched MY life as a youth.

18 09 2008

P.S. – I love the guy who wrote the post, too! : )

19 09 2008
The All-Important Youth Volunteer « Turnaround Churches

[…] 19, 2008 · No Comments Robbie wrote a great post called “No Youth Volunteers: No Youth Ministry“  He gives the qualities of a good youth volunteer: Crazy, Radical, Caffeinated, Brave, […]

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