Monday, June 01, 2009

Resource Review - How to Volunteer Like a Pro

How to Volunteer like a Pro - An amateur's guide to working with Teenagers By: Jim Hancock 143 pages $12.99 Published by Zondervan

OVERALL - Someone finally wrote a book just for volunteers. One that doesn't talk down to us, that actually talks about the important stuff.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Jim Hancock describes his very first youth group meeting as a new adult "volunteer". He was nervous, felt completely out of his depth and was quite certain that he didn't know what he should know. I had the exact same feelings the first time I walked into the room (curiously the room that was then the youth room is today my office) for my very first youth group meeting as an adult volunteer. My bet is it will ring a bell for most of us. Jim Hancock took an interesting path as a youth worker. He started as a paid youth minister then quit and became a volunteer. Out of both those experiences he's come up with a very good book. He covers everything from your first day to the kids last day and time to leave. In between he'll give you a good, brief look at just about every skill or standard you'll need to get started. It's also a great refresher for folks who have been in the trenches for a while. With 37 chapters and only 143 pages obviously this is a quick an easy read. There's some real value in these quick chapters too. I like that it comes as a hard back book because I think a lot of new volunteer leaders will want to carry it around with them for a while.

RESERVATIONS The downside of the short snappy chapters is that you never really get into much depth. Some of these chapters are going to "want" to be discussed in greater depth. So the new leader will want to have someone else to talk with about some of it. That will slow the process down a little but not enough to take away from what can be learned.

RECOMMENDATION This could certainly be added to my beginning youth ministry pack. It's a solid introduction to most of the issues we face in our youth ministries. You'll also find a solid starting point for taking on all those challenges. It's not for everyone (some of us have learned most of this the hard way) but if you've got someone that you want to help past some of those early hurdles you should definitely buy them this book.

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