Is there ever a time in which we tell someone "NO" to volunteering?

I have to admit, I struggle with this one...is there ever a time in which you have ever had to tell someone who wanted to be on Core (or any other ministry) that they couldn't, for whatever reason? I know some reasons may be easier than others (i.e. someone in worship band who has no musical talent, someone that openly doesn't like teens, someone that is dealing drugs (yes this is a real example that happened to me,) etc.), but what happens when WE feel they just do not 'fit' in with the overall mission and approach to youth ministry at the parish, yet at the same time, they may feel called to serve in Youth ministry? Is it right for us to tell someone who wants to be on Core, No, sorry?

Comments

  • I have struggled with this too. I find having clear expectations, responsibility and a core covenant so they know what they are committing to, and doing periodic assessments will often help people see when they need to be removed from ministry, or at least start the conversation. I think always doing sometimes of gifts assessment and help them discern where they might best serve so they don't feel like the Church doesn't want or need them!

  • From the other side of the coin, I've had to remove people from ministry that clearly did not belong. That was an unbelieveably painful process with crying and multiple meetings involved and it all could have been avoided if the previous youth minister had said no when they first applied. Perhaps one of the ways to cushion the blow to someone up front is get them invovled with youth ministry as a greeter, behind the scenes person with food, environment, etc and see how they do and maybe re-evaluate if your gut feeling was accurate or not.

  • Here's a great core covenant, one for Life Teen and one for Edge, to use at the beginning of each year. I love this so that when hard conversations arise you can easily point back to the covenant. Then the conversation is not a personal attack on the Core Member but a focus on what the team agreed to live out as a community. Ultimately it is always about leading teens closer to Christ and becoming more like Jesus each day.

  • I totally agree with @mdowdy and @matthewzemanek! :) One important discussion to have with each volunteer (those applying for Core Team, running Life nights, small groups, direct relational ministry, etc.) is about the distinction between ministry to and for the youth versus ministry for the volunteer. I have found that sometimes potential volunteers want to be part of the Core team because they had such a great experience as a teen and that they want that experience to continue, not really understanding that the role of a teen and the role of Core are very different. I've had an experience where a potential volunteer wanted to be on the Core team because he was looking for community and to "hang out" with the Core that he had looked up to as a teen. There is nothing wrong with that as long as he understood that he was there to bring the teens closer to Christ in a leadership role. Once he realized that his priority was seeking community and not being relational with the teens, or taking on leadership roles, it was much easier for me to let him go. When this happens, it is so important to make sure that you have a good list of other parish or diocesan ministries/movements that the volunteer can check out and then if you can, follow up with that person. 2 reasons to follow up: 1) You never know... they might hone some leadership skills or have something to offer at a later time or in a different capacity and 2) depending on their discipleship journey, you don't want to be the one who turns them away from the church! :# :)

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