Monday, December 7, 2009

Volunteer Help

It’s always interesting to hear the responses when I ask a room full of youth workers to describe what they do in youth ministry. Those who volunteer their time to pour their lives into kids usually sell themselves short by almost embarrassingly confessing, “I’m just a volunteer.” But with a little bit of information and encouragement, these folks can begin to see that they need to drop the “I’m just a” to confidently embrace the amazing role they play in shaping the hearts and minds of young people.

My friend Jim Hancock made the transition to youth ministry volunteer after more than 20 years of getting paid to minister to kids. His experience as a volunteer taught him quite a bit, and in his signature style he has crafted a helpful and encouraging book for those who pursue this high calling and high privilege without getting paid a dime. How To Volunteer Like a Pro: An Amateur’s Guide For Working With Teenagers (Zondervan/Youth Specialties) is full of practical advice and helpful tips loaded into 37 short chapters, making it highly suitable for individual reading or small group training sessions. Jim includes guidance on everything from how to build relationships, to crossing cultures, to reporting abuse. One chapter even offers suggestions on how to ask good questions, with Jim passing on the three time-tested best questions he knows.

Youth ministry volunteers aren’t chaperones, supervisors or an adult presence. They powerfully serve Christ and kids by becoming the hands and feet of Jesus on the ground, right there where kids live. How to Volunteer Like a Pro will encourage and equip them to fulfill their God-given calling as an incarnational presence in young lives.

2 comments:

jim hancock said...

"[Volunteers] powerfully serve Christ and kids by becoming the hands and feet of Jesus on the ground, right there where kids live." I like that, Walt. A lot.

Thanks for your kind words!

jh

exploringcollegeministry said...

Thanks for this, Walt! Any thoughts on how suitable it is for other ministry areas? I'm specifically wondering about college ministry, but I guess the same Q applies to children's ministry, too.