I hear a lot about how leaders burn out and give up toward the end of teh school year. i know that the hardest time for me to keep my volunteers in step would be the last couple of months, you know, like april and may. you gotta figure that there is a lot going on in their lives and spending time with the youth is very time- and energy-consuming. let's face it - your peeps put in a lot of time, and much of it is above and beyond what they signed up for in teh first place.
think about all the stuff that you need to do to make sure that your staff is doing what they are supposed to be. i would hope that they are in some sort of group with other peers, whether that be a bible study or a type of accountability. also, they either have a job or school or both adn a family and tons of bills. so, let's say that for a person that starts a commitment to spend with your youth group in september has about nine months of sheer madness to keep their assigned group up and running.
with all the madness going on, with holidays and extra-carricular stuff they are going to show some wear and tear coming toward the end of the school year. they are not exempt from the emotions and other stuff that their students are going through. on the contrary, they are emersed in their lives so much that they feel all that stuff and then they take it home with them after youth group. so, what do you do for your staff to keep them going when they do not want to go anymore? i know there is a ton of stuff that comes to mind and will be a book in itself one day. however, let's focus on one very important aspect of that.
one thing that is pertinent to keep your staff motivated is to help them see where they are going. there needs to be an end in mind. i know a lot of youth pastors that just keep the staff going all the time, every week of the year and just tell the peeps to take time off when they need it. and at first this may seem like a good idea, but think about it. that is a lack of direction on your part. peeps don't need to have that on their plate to think about. if you tell them what they are getting into then they will be more apt to finish.
when your collegians are coming up on spring break and your volunteer parents have end of the year stuff to deal with it is easy for the to make excuses and not finish. or even worse, they want to take some time off and not finish well - although they do not see it that way. you are the leader, it is your job to help them to know where they are as they are running the minsitry race. when your staff wants to take some time off you need to be able to point to the commitment they made at the beginning of the year or season of ministry that you are in. help them to know where they are and when they round third base they will want to run harder. they will not want to give up because they will have the end in mind. but if there is not end they will feel like they are running in a never-ending race and will give up easier. that is not ok for you to let happen.
so the question here is whether you are giving those in your care a timeline of the season of ministry that they are in. start there and add to it as you move along. i remember that was one of the hardest parts for me was to ask others for commitments of certain amounts of time. i thought that it would scare peeps away. however, it ended up doing the opposite. the peeps in our ministry were more fired up toward teh end because they saw it as a sprint at the end of the race. they knew they only had a certain amount of time to reach the goals they set out to finish. give direction, give timelines; help your staff sprint and succeed.