If your youth ministry looks anything like mine, summers are often a time of unique connection with students at special events like camp, mission trips, day trips, etc. But our regular weekly connections are disrupted by sports camps, band camps, and family vacations. In fact, for years we stopped our regular midweek youth group over the summer as so many people were away. In my experience, the disconnect is felt even more among my volunteer leaders. In the summertime, many of them are unable to attend the special events that we do with students because they have work and can’t use all of their vacation time to make youth group trips, especially when they have their family vacations.
Fall is a time for us to get back into our the weekly rhythms. Programs are kicking back up and everyone is getting reconnected. Once everything is launched I like to try and meet up with my volunteers to check in and make sure we are all on the same page as we enter the new school year. I usually take them out for breakfast, lunch, or coffee, and I have developed five questions to guide our conversation and help me get a P.U.L.S.E on my leaders:
Pray – How can I pray for you? For your family? For your ministry?
Understand – What do you need to understand about the youth ministry or something coming up? Is there anything about our vision, our mission, our values, our philosophy of ministry that I need to clarify or help you better understand?
Leadership – Who is another potential adult who we could invite to consider being on our adult leadership team? Which students do you see great leadership potential in? How can we help develop them?
Stories – Tell me stories of how you see God moving in the lives of students. How do you see God using you? Who are you connecting with?
Equipping – What can we do to equip you to be a better leader for students? How would you like to grow as a leader? How can I help you accomplish that?
Investing in your volunteers will not only create better relationships within your ministry, it will also help you better gauge the health of your ministry. Use this acronym or develop questions of your own to help get a pulse on your adult leaders and volunteers.
Kevin Mahaffy Jr. is husband to Adriana, and father of two daughters — Claudia who is a college student, and Natalia who is in high school. He has served in youth ministry for over 20 years as a teaching pastor and a popular camp and retreat speaker. Kevin has written two books and co-authored several others. He is a big Yankees fan, bookaholic, Starbucks junkie, Krispy Kreme addict, and blogger. He exercises a lot, but he also eats a lot, so you can’t tell he exercises a lot.