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Volunteer Agreements, Ministry Conditions, Volunteer Contracts, Ministry Role Description… call them what you like. They may sound formal but they can bring numerous positive qualities to your youth ministry, your volunteers and your young people.

Have you ever applied for a job? If so what was it? And how did you know what was expected of you? The chances are you would have been give some form of job description to help clearly define where your responsibilities start and end. Shouldn’t it be the same with those we ask to volunteer in ministry?

Unfortunately, it’s more common than you think. People leave their voluntary role because they didn’t know why they were there. They didn’t see a way they could use their own gifts and talents to make a difference. As youth leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure we are giving our volunteers the opportunity to be the body of Christ. To put them where their skills are best suited and let them know what’s expected of them. A great way to do this is by introducing a volunteer agreement. The benefits include…

  • Increased morale and productivity from volunteers as they know what to work on.
  • Preventing miscommunication and different expectations from both parties.
  • Others from congregation will be happier to get involved if you can show them exactly what you’re asking them to do.
  • If there is any inappropriate behaviour from a volunteer, then there is a document of behaviour which can be referred back to.

So what sort of things should be included in a volunteer agreement? Download a sample agreement for a youth club leader here…

When forming a Volunteer agreement, YMM’s advice would be…

 

  1. Start with the vision - begin the document explaining what it is you are hoping to achieve by bringing this individual on to your team.
  2. What is their Primary role? - Clearly sum up the role you are asking the person to fill in no more than 2 sentences.
  3. Job brief - What are the details for their role? Do they need to be there to set up every week? Are they responsible for replenishing the tuck shop? Will they take charge of organising trips? etc.
  4. Person spec - Objectively list the qualities you will need for someone to fulfil this role and it’s job brief. This is a great way of encouraging a volunteer, saying, “I need this job doing and you have the skills we need to make it happen.”
  5. Support - Don’t make the agreement all about what you can get from them? What are you as a church or you as youth leader going to do to support and develop them in this role?

Download our example of a volunteer agreement here.

Joel is youth minister for St Michaels church, North Bristol where he leads a team of volunteers and interns. Having been involved in youthwork for 10 years, He specialises in delivering leadership and people management training in a youth ministry context and has taught with SoulNet, SWYM and Youthwork the Conference.

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