Let me start out by saying my wife and I were volunteer youth leaders for 15 years. I loved the experience and for that small church, it worked pretty well. But I do think that our church made a mistake in asking for volunteer youth leaders, rather than investing money and resources in staff. I think it implied to many youth that they were not as important as “adults” in the church.
Again, there are situations where congregations cannot afford to staff youth leaders and volunteer youth leaders can be a blessing to the church and the students. There are many examples of successful volunteers, just as there are examples of paid youth leaders who fail to lead well.
The point I want to make is that we keep talking about the importance of youth in our churches. We say we want to keep our young people long after they graduate from high school. So if that’s the case, shouldn’t we pour our resources into youth ministry, education and discipleship?
I’ve heard of consistories/councils suggest that once the number of young families and youth increases, they will consider youth ministry staff. I would suggest that for those congregations that would like to be more appealing and inviting to young families and youth, you might want to consider youth ministry staff FIRST.
What do you think?