I serve with my 15-year-old daughter in the 2-year-old room in our children's ministry. And Abby's fabulous with those children--she's their favorite, of course!
As good as she is, we hear that some children's ministers are afraid of using teenagers. One of their fears, according to Larry Shallenberger (author of Lead the Way God Made You) is that teenagers are unfocused and unreliable. To counter that, Larry suggests in The Inside Track (from Church Volunteer Central) how to counteract that fear.
"My teenage son is a percussionist. At the end of last school year, he volunteered to participate in nearly every chorus and instrument ensemble that his large high school offered. The only problem was that he forgot to write those dates down or tell us about it. On three different occasions, I came home and learned that Alex had a concert in just an hour. Advanced planning and adolescent brain development seem to be at odds.
The children’s directors [I talked to] had some strong suggestions to help teens like my son improve their reliability:
- Instill a sense of value in the teens. Their contributions matter, and they will be missed if they don’t show up.
- Communicate a strong vision for the ministry. This increases their desire to follow through.
- Provide written schedules every two months. Also send reminder postcards, text messages, or e-mails the week of their service.
- Involve their parents. Consider inviting the parents to your orientation training, and make sure that a calendar lands in their hands.
- Place teens in ministry areas that suit their gifts. When a teen is serving in his or her “sweet spot,” he or she is more likely to pay attention to the calendar."
To get a free sample of The Inside Track, go to http://tinyurl.com/maykl2
To get Larry's amazing book, go to http://tinyurl.com/nacyl9