Guest Post: Selecting New Volunteers Pt. 2

October 25, 2012 — 6 Comments

In part one of this series, I shared a few random thoughts to remember as you are on your search for new volunteers for your ministry. But that is the easiest part. The real work comes once you have a few potential volunteers that you feel may be a good for fit for your ministry. Once you have a few, the temptation will be to plug them in right away, but don’t get ahead of yourself. There are a few crucial steps that I would encourage you to take before you officially add these new volunteers to your team. Here are three things we do with our potential volunteers that may be good for you to do as well.

  • Application. We have a lengthy application we ask all potential leaders to fill out. It’s lengthy for a reason. We want people who are committed and are willing to take the necessary steps to joining our team. Also, it’s a great way for us to get to know important information about them before we put them on our team. We ask them to write out their testimony, ask them why they want to work with students, see if they are a member of our church, and other important information. If you don’t have an application you give to your potential volunteers I would encourage you to put one together. Once you have one made, keep it on file so you can send it to any potential volunteers that may be joining your team.
  • Background Check. This is huge don’t overlook this! I am always surprised at how many churches don’t require background checks of their potential volunteers. I have been guilty of this, but know always make sure every potential leader has one done. We must protect the students we work with and one way we do that is screening our potential volunteers. It’s an important step that we must never overlook. Before anyone can join our team, we do a background check on them. If you are not doing this I encourage you to start doing it now!
  • One on One Interview. Once a potential volunteers as filled out an application and passed a background check, I sit down with them one on one and do a casual interview with them. This gives me a chance to hear their story as well as hear their heart behind why they want to work with students. I will review their application beforehand and highlight any areas I want to discuss with them. This is a great way to put the paper work aside and hear the heart of a potential volunteer. During this interview, make sure to ask the right questions, but also share the vision and purpose of your ministry. Explain the commitment they will make as part of joining your team and make sure they know exactly what they are signing up for. Pray with them and tell them you will get back to them in a few days.

If you have done these three steps and feel like they are a good fit, add them to your team! Find out where they best fit and unleash them to serve the students in your ministry! You may have a few other steps, but I believe these are three important steps you must take when your selecting new volunteers.

*Austin McCann is the student ministries director at Christ Community Chapel-Stow Campus in Northeast Ohio. He enjoys reading, writing, spending time with his wife, and pointing students towards Jesus. You can check out more of his thoughts at


6 responses to Guest Post: Selecting New Volunteers Pt. 2


    Just throwing out my 2 cents on selecting volunteers – my experience is that the bigger and more established the youth ministry is, the more lengthy and thorough your selection process should be. But the smaller churches I’ve worked in, it is necessary and appropriate to back off the level of selection. This may seem obvious on some level, but I’m sure there would be push-back from some.

    One quick story: I had a volunteer that was interested in the student ministry once. I went through sharing with her the level of commitment and the whole application process. It scared her away and she completely backed-off from getting involved. Then my wife got this same young woman to come in and help her with her small group. She ended up falling in love with working with youth and within a year’s time, she was one of our core volunteers fulfilling the level of commitment that had once scared her away.

    My point is that every church, community and student ministry is different and discernment for all these things are integral with establishing any set of guidelines you use in any area of student ministry. Excellent goals outlined above, but def need to be tailored to each church’s unique situation.


      Hey Howie

      Thanks for your insight! I think you are exactly right in your point. Every ministry is going to be different for sure. I think it is up to every youth pastor (or youth pastors wife in your case) to be able to explain the needs and wants for the ministry in order to effectively recruit volunteers.

      Thanks for your thoughts! They are needed!


        My pleasure! In the smaller churches I’ve worked with, you don’t have people readily volunteering for the student ministry very often, so you have to almost find subversive ways to try and get them interested and connected with the student ministry. It’s a challenge, but really cool when you see someone start to catch the vision and passion for reaching students.


        Subversive. I love it. I think there is that issue in bigger churches as well. It can be more of, there are more students so we need more leaders. This year, we had to go to covert and subversive ways to try and get leaders to join us to lead small groups as well. Isn’t it awesome how no matter the church, the issues are still the same? Just looks different.


        One seminar I went to once suggested you get the youth to help recruit. It’s one thing to turn down the youth pastor, it’s another to look into a youth’s eyes and say no :). And the youth are often the best at having a good radar at who would be good to work in the ministry or not. I also use other volunteers to help recruit. I actually put in it my youth leader job description – that they would commit to recruit one other volunteer over the next year.


        Love both of those ideas. Especially the volunteers recruiting other volunteers. That’s strong.

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