We have had a weekly email go out about all things USMB Youth for the past six months. Here is a quick recap of all the emails we have sent out so everyone is up to speed. We know not everyone checks their email or reads every aspect of it, and this post is for all those people who don’t want to miss anything. If you are not getting those emails please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
Click the links below:
24. 2-13-19 Facebook Live Event and Project:Serve
23. 2-6-19 Final FAQ’s
22. 1-30-19: More FAQ’s & Project:Serve Reopened!
21. 1-23-19: Early bird registration deadline & FAQ’s about registration
20. 1-16-19: Presence Worship Highlight & FAQ’s
19. 1-9-19: YouthCon’s Housing & Meals plus Youth Worker Cohorts!
18. 1-2-19: Our youtube channel, Top 5 Things Blog
17. 12-19-18: The packing list for YouthCon
16. 12-12-18: Project: Serve deadline & Facebook live – travel plans
15. 12-5-18: Speaker Highlight – Tam Hodge
14. 11-28-18: Speaker Highlight – Bill Hogg
13. 11-21-18: Speaker Highlight – Randy Friesen
12. 11-14-18: Welcoming New Network Members & Registration Rules
11. 11-7-18: Filling our Resource Bank & Network Tours
10. 10-30-18: Facebook Live Launch Party!
9. 10-24-18: Our network is looking to grow
8. 10-17-18: Promo packets are here & Project Serve opens!
7. 10-10-18: Registration details and how it will all work
6. 10-3-18: All the activities we offer & looking for bloggers
5. 9-26-18: Introducing our All Things Youth Blog
4. 9-19-18: Why we choose the dates we did
3. 9-12-18: Our First Ever Weekly!
2. 8-7-18: Our app introduction (Monthly)
1. 6-1-18: Introduction Email (Monthly)
(The Top 5 is our quick list of resources, recommendations, or reasons that we feel you should know).
Keeping your adult volunteers up-to-date and in the know can be a big strain of time and effort on any youth worker. However, it’s a crucial aspect of every youth ministry. We no longer live in an age where a simple email will be sent, people communicate in different ways using different mediums more than ever. It can be a bit overwhelming. So how do you manage it? Well here are our top five ways you can communicate with your adult volunteers. These are just ideas that can be tweaked to fit your ministry.
ONE – The Standard Leaders Meeting (in person)
Most youth ministries have some kind of meeting with all the adult volunteers together. There is some updates, light training, and go over what the night or the next week will include. This might be the standard for most but it’s also one of the best ways. Having a time where all the leaders are together in person is a crucial way to reinforce your vision, train your leaders, and deal with issues directly. It is also a great way to build teamwork. If you have a small group (less than 5 leaders) asking them to show up 15 minutes early to your regular nights is a good idea. If you have a bigger group maybe showing up 30-45 minutes each month might work. Try to make it consistent and do no go more than 90 days between meetings. We have found that around once a month is ideal. Also when you are planning this meeting choose a convenient time. Either before youth group (afterward don’t really work) or a night of the week where childcare is available for those leaders with families. Also, try to bring some kind of snack or meal as a way of saying thank you and incentivize them in coming.
TWO – Regular Email
This is a great way to share more information on upcoming events. It can be in newsletter format or a simple group email. Go over the next month’s events, highlight things they should be aware of, update them on changes, and anything else you need to share. The positive of this communication style is you get the same information to everyone all at once. The downside is if your email is too long – they might skip it. Try to send regular emails (once a week or month) and keep things short and bullet point everything you can.
THREE – Facebook Group
Facebook has drastically improved their groups over the years. Now you can have completely private groups where only members can see or even respond to them. The benefit of groups is if they check their facebook feed any group posts will come first or near the top, and they even get notifications of your post too. The benefit of Facebook groups over email is you can get people to respond back and forth and they are more likely to see your content. The downside is either not every leader has a facebook account (rare, but true) and you have to keep your posts short to keep engaged.
FOUR – Texting Line/Group
The quickest and for a sure-fire way of getting people information. Everyone checks their text messages. If you have a last minute change or want to send out a reminder a group texting line is the way to go. This is only a supplemental way of communication but a very easy one. We suggest for bigger groups getting a free communication app (like groupme). With groupme, you can send text, make events where leaders can RSVP, create a poll, and send pictures very easily. Having texting line plus a monthly meeting will cover most of your communication needs. Word to the wise – don’t send long texts or too frequently of text. We suggest 2-3 texts a week AT MOST. Sometimes we even send our volunteers a text message reminding them we sent them an email (for longer content)!
FIVE – The Leader’s Lunch
This might be the most time consuming and expensive way to communicate but it also will have the most impact. Either once a semester or once a year (depending on your budget) take EACH of your leaders out to lunch or a meal of some kind. If they are married bring both of them. Get to know them more, see how their life is going, how their spiritual life is. Then share how your life is going. Thank them for their service. Share the information you need to share – like big upcoming plans or changes. And then have them share how they think youth group is going. Get some honest feedback from them personally. A lot of times people don’t share in a big group because they don’t feel comfortable. But get them one on one they feel valued and listen to. You also have a chance to answer any questions they may have directly. It’s a habit every youth worker should have if they want to build loyalty with your adult volunteers.
What did we forget or miss? What other ways do you communicate with your adult volunteers? Let us know in the comments below or on our facebook group by clicking here.
The packing list seems like a simple thing but forget one little item and now you have a big problem. So here is our list. Each church/group might add or change some of these items. But it is our recommendation that these items be considered when packing for YouthCon. The temperature most likely will be upper 60’s & 70’s during the day and upper 50’s at night. IMPORTANT: The camp DO NOT provide bedding, only a mattress. So plan on bringing a pillow plus a sheet/blanket or sleeping bag.
If you are flying here are some options on how to save money in getting your bedding to YouthCon: One, get 1-2 big suitcases and put all bedding into that. Two, ship your bedding to the camp the week beforehand. Three, have a friend or even retired couple drive all your luggage and bedding out there and back. They get to stay for a relaxing vacation during the trip and it might save some hassle with checking luggage. Four, purchase items at a local store (Santa Fe is 20 mins) however there might be limited items available with multiple groups doing the same thing. It also might be difficult to drive to these locations.
Bedding: (Camp only provides a mattress)
DO NOT BRING:
*YouthCon is not responsible for lost, stolen, or broken items.
Youth Ministry. What an overwhelming two words. Whether we are coordinating fun events, attending multiple basketball games in a night, or doing lesson prep, we are always busy. While most people only see us on Sunday or Wednesday, we seem to always feel like we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off! I once heard a story from a youth pastor that had a student in his youth ministry ask “What do you do every other day of the week?”
We have a lot to do. And sometimes in a ministry leadership position, we can feel like we have to do it all on our own. We need to have a game picked out, get all of the supplies ready, make sure the snacks are ready, prepare a PowerPoint, lesson prep, write a handout, engage kids, and the list goes on and on. Our weeks are busy. Our days and nights are busy. And it can become so stressful. The average tenure of a youth pastor today is shockingly low. And we know why. It’s a stress-filled, busy life, in which help guide and take on the spiritual well-being of a group of students, some of who are struggling through things we have never experienced personally. But we were never meant to do it alone.
Whether you are the only leader in the room during your weekly meeting, or you have a team of 20 leaders, you have people that want to help. I promise. People want your ministry to succeed. The old phrase “seek and you shall find” is relevant here. It’s not every day a member of the church runs up and asks if you need more leaders in your ministry. But they are there, in your church.
Give people the opportunity to serve by making your needs known. Volunteer cards hung in the lobby of your church can give people the chance to get involved in an area that they may specialize in where you need help. Maybe you have someone who LOVES organizing and running games. Getting them involved in your group will take a load off of your back and giving people options of where to serve (worship, snacks, soundboard, checking kids in, small group leaders, game time etc.) will help them feel comfortable volunteering.
And don’t forget, you have young adults IN YOUR ROOM that want to help serve too! Asking students to help you run copies, turn on soundboards, change slides, clean up after, or to play on the worship team can be a great tool for you! They want to help, it makes them feel important, and giving your students a chance to serve can only bring fruit. People want you and your ministry succeed! It’s an overwhelming job, but you have help. Youth ministry is a great mission, a great challenge, and a great joy. Share that joy with others. You are not alone, pastor.
David Toelle is in his first year of ministry at Pine Acres MB in Weatherford Oklahoma. He loves the mountains, Diet Coke and quesadillas.