Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How To Volunteer Like A Pro

"An Amateurs Guide to Working With Teens." That's the subtitle for Jim Hancock's new book about youth ministry volunteers. I love his opening thoughts on youth ministry amateurs:
"The word amateur comes to English via the French, who got it from Italians, who took Latin in high school. The root word is amator--that's lover in English. Amateurs do what they do because they love it. I often hear amateur youth workers say, "Oh, I'm just a volunteer." Nonsense. The word just doesn't belong in the same sentence with the word volunteer. Volunteer youth workers express God's compassion for kids in a way no one else does."
And it just gets better from there. Hancock was a professional youth minister for 20+ years before becoming a volunteer. He has a great deal of wisdom and insight into teenagers and volunteers. The book is filled with practical wisdom about parents, crushes, expectations, marginalized kids, small groups, crises, and everything in between. The book is quite short--nearly every chapter is only three or four pages long--but very helpful. Hancock points to the value of volunteers for relational youth ministry and how their work is incredibly important in the kingdom of God. If you're looking for a long philosophical treatise about volunteers, this isn't it. But if you have a brand new volunteer in youth ministry in need of a practical guide to getting started right, I'd recommend you hand them this book.

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