Finding Joy in Volunteering: 5 Ways to Keep Your Church Group Volunteers Smiling

As we gear up for the summer, there’s one thing on our minds: volunteers. We all know that without them, summer events like Vacation Bible School and church camps just wouldn’t be the same. 

Summer Camp Dance GIF by Green Valley Community Church

However, we also know that volunteering can feel like a chore (and not like the fun Macarena time pictured above). Most youth group volunteers are parents of students who likely juggle a variety of other responsibilities. In smaller churches, the volunteer pool might be smaller than you’d hope. Volunteers for youth groups know they’re in it for the kids, but they also deserve to be thanked for their time, effort and energy! Let’s make this year the year that volunteering changes. 

Here are 5 ways to encourage and uplift your incredible volunteers.

Make it Fun

First things first, let’s make volunteering fun! You’re not planning your events around your volunteers, but there should be ways to at least make what they’re doing part of the fun. Create a positive atmosphere where volunteers can enjoy themselves while serving others. (We’ve even seen some youth groups offer volunteer-only spaces where volunteers can grab a quick snack while working!) Remember, when volunteers are having fun, they’re more likely to stay engaged and enthusiastic about their roles.

Provide Clear Expectations

Set your volunteers up for success by providing clear expectations and guidelines for their roles. Make sure they understand what is expected of them, and be available to answer any questions or provide support along the way. Again, remember that volunteers don’t do ministry full time! They likely signed up to help because they felt compelled to serve, but they don’t always know to what extent! When volunteers know exactly what is expected of them, they’re more likely to feel confident and empowered in their roles.

Offer Training and Support

Equip your volunteers with the tools they need to succeed. Have training sessions, workshops, and resources to help them grow in their roles and develop new skills. For example, give VBS volunteers plenty of time to go through teaching material and crafts. Dedicate space for them to practice activities they’re leading. Be available to provide support and guidance whenever needed. When volunteers feel supported and equipped, they’re more likely to thrive in their roles and find joy in serving others.

Celebrate Successes

Take the time to celebrate the wins, both big and small. Whether it’s reaching a fundraising goal, seeing a child’s life transformed, or simply surviving a busy week of camp ministry, celebrate these moments together as a church group. Not only does it boost morale, but it also reminds volunteers why they do what they do and encourages them to keep smiling.

Show Appreciation

Finally, don’t forget to show your volunteers some love! An attitude of gratitude goes far in ministry! Take the time to express your gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Whether it’s with a heartfelt thank-you card or a small token of appreciation like volunteer-exclusive group shirts, let your volunteers know that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

(Also, call us biased, but from a logistical perspective, group shirts help your group quickly identify who is a volunteer and trusted adult during events…)

At Uth Stuph, we have over 26 years serving ministry groups by creating quality group shirts that can help them commemorate life-changing events like Vacation Bible Schools and church camps. We can help your ministry, volunteer group, or other group event shine with custom t-shirts showcasing your church. Get a free quote from our team, and let’s talk!