This is the first of a blog series on team building. We will cover volunteer expectations, volunteer onboarding, team positions, team growth, and leading volunteers. No one is perfect at this, but all we can do is learn and try and learn some more.
To start in this process, every member of your team needs to know clear expectations for their role on the team. This ensures that they have a goal, vision, spiritual expectations, and a practical job description for their position.
At Church of the Harvest in Oklahoma City, this is how we layout expectations for volunteers in our student ministry. Please feel free to apply this idea to any ministry with your own goals, vision, and team positions!
(Insert the goal of your ministry.)
The goal of student ministry is to create a phenomenal student experience that is engaging, fun, encouraging, creative and challenging. You should desire to show students that God wants them to experience life on another level!
(Insert the vision or your student ministry.)
To see students come to know Jesus. To see students be baptized. To see students, get connected in the local church.
Spiritual Workout Routine
In order for you to lead students in the direction God wants them to go, you have to be going in the direction that God wants you to go. We must constantly and regularly be pressing closer to Him in all we do.
James 4:8 | “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
Just like having a workout routine to maintain physical fitness we must have a spiritual workout routine to maintain spiritual fitness. Below is a spiritual workout routine that you should be using as you grow and develop into the leader God wants you to be.
Seeking God Daily (Bible/Prayer)
It is vital to your spiritual growth that you are reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. Both of these things are crucial to setting the ideas of God into your heart and mind so that they can be lived out.
Romans 12:2 | “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Spending daily time with God changes the way we think…The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.
Sharing about what God is doing in your life and what God is doing in the life of the Church should be something we find joy in doing. Sharing includes inviting others regularly to experience church and helping to promote the church on social media. What we have as Christ-followers is too good to keep to ourselves. The world around you needs to know what you are experiencing through Christ.
The only thing Jesus ever established on earth was the Local Church and as followers of Christ, we should be serving in the Body of Christ. Serving keeps our hearts focused on The Kingdom and not on ourselves. Each of us has been called to play a role in the Church. We are the body and every part works together to make the body function. Make sure you are committed to serving the House.
Mark 10:45 | “For even the Son of Man [Jesus] came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
God has commanded us to bring our tithe, 10% of our income, to the local church. He has attached a promise to this command that he will bless us and he even challenges us to test him in it. Let us put our whole trust in God with this. We have been blessed to be a blessing. Make sure to make bringing your tithe a priority
Malachi 3:10 | “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
Serving the next generation is an honor and a privilege. We are not just helping to develop their values and beliefs we are training them up as leaders for God’s Kingdom. Any leadership position is a responsibility that we take very seriously, especially as it pertains to our youth.
We know we are called to live a life above reproach and we are called to set an example for students. This should be a lifestyle that is not only portrayed while serving but in every detail of our lives. Below is a list of things that we ask you to be aware of as you serve in this role.
Alcohol and Tobacco
We ask that you do not drink, chew, or smoke in any public forum and keep any use of these products to the privacy of your home. If you consume alcohol, please keep in mind that drunkenness is a sin and we ask that you use great spiritual responsibility in this area.
Illegal Drugs and Marijuana
Any use of illegal drugs or Marijuana will not be tolerated and will result in no longer being allowed to serve within the student ministry.
Please keep all posting modest and appropriate. No bathing suit pictures, pictures that allude to a partying lifestyle, avoid pictures with low cut shirts, short skirts and such. No pictures alluding to or with the consumption of alcohol or the use of tobacco products, avoid posts or comments that allude to anything sexual, avoid any foul language, gossip, and/or slander. Social Media is huge in the lives of students and it is the best place to see what really goes on in the lives of people. Please remember the students are looking for someone to lead them and exemplify a life that is God-honoring.
We ask that you dress modestly and appropriate not only while serving but as you are in public, at work, or during your free time. You are a representation of Christ to all you meet.
We ask that you are setting a spiritual example in your dating or marriage relationships. Living a sexually pure life and leading as God has called you to lead in your relationships.
Personal Spiritual Growth
We ask that you strive to have daily time with God; spending time in His word, in prayer, and in worship.
Please use great discretion in the movies you go to see and the music you listen to. Let us avoid being entertained by things that are not of God.
This list is not all-inclusive. We ask that you use spiritual discretion in every area of your life as you lead and work in the lives of these students. God has called us to be noticeably different in this world and we are the example setters for the next generation. If you are ever in question about a particular situation or circumstance, please do not hesitate to consult leadership.
Protecting both our students and volunteers is of the utmost importance. We want to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved in our student ministry. Below is a list of things to be aware of for the protection of both you and the students. This list is not limited to the following alone. We ask that you use great discretion in all areas of involvement as it pertains to students. Always consult leadership if in question.
Never should a volunteer and student of the opposite sex be in a car together alone. When it comes to transportation volunteers and students should be of the same sex. The only exception is if multiple students are being transported together, there needs to be at least two students of the same sex at all times.
You should avoid texting or private messaging students via phone, social media, or email. Communication between volunteer and students should never be with the opposite sex. If a student of the opposite sex contacts you, you should immediately contact leadership to make them aware. Phone calls should be used only to communicate events or activities that are directly involved with what is going on with our ministry.
There is no confidential information between you and a student. Leadership must be made aware of all the issues that concern students. Never tell a student that what they tell you will stay between you and them. It is crucial that you relay any information that needs to be addressed or investigated to the appropriate leader.
With that being said, any information you may receive from a student is not public information for everyone to know, that information needs to stay between you, the student, and leadership. Do not ever discuss a students issue on a public forum or in private with other volunteers. In cases of suspected physical, emotional, or sexual abuse you are required by law to report it (please consult leader to handle the reporting).
Use great discretion while interacting with students. Avoid anyone on one conversation between you and a student. Use great discretion with physical contact. Students will want to hug and touch, which is great if done in an appropriate way. Avoid hugging when possible, never front hug any student of the opposite sex. High fives are a great form of contact! It is your responsibility to draw the line with a student. If you ever feel uncomfortable with a student, please make sure leadership is aware.
Volunteer to Volunteer Interaction
Use discretion in how you treat each other and how you interact. Make sure that at all times you are setting an example for the students around you. As you build relationships with other volunteers please keep in mind that, first and foremost, we are here to serve the students and that they are the priority when you are serving. We ask that in all your conversations with each other you remain positive and avoid any gossip or slanderous talk. Always promote unity. Be encouraging and positive and focused on what God has called you to be a part of.
If suspicion or question is raised about another volunteer do not hesitate to bring that information forward to leadership. Always keep an eye out for protecting our students, this includes being aware of who is on our team and who is not. Make sure that no one comes into the experience or is around our students that have not been approved to be there.
The greatest thing that you will experience with serving students is that you will see first hand the life change that takes place in so many students lives. Nothing will compare to it and you will be a major part of making it happen!
The Youth America Team