I have done a lot of things in (almost) 30 years of youth ministry. I have done youth ministry full time, part time, and volunteer time.
My heart really goes out to those of you who are volunteer youth leaders. This is a tough gig at the best of times. You are trying to run a solid youth group without the luxury of time. You have to face the pinch of wanting to give this group your all and yet, you have a life (and a fulltime job) aside from this group. This is hard, hard work. However, today, it is even more difficult than it has ever been. In addition to all the normal trials that go with being a volunteer youth leader, you have to face the additional (nutty) busyness of youth today.
It can be extra hard for the volunteer youth leader to make their group the best it can be in this climate. When you have spent your time and energy preparing youth group and committed yourself to be there week by week, there are few things more disheartening than your youth group kids skipping out on your program simply because they are too busy or chose something less important to do.
In the end, there are really only two practical things you can do when dealing with these issues as a volunteer: You must seek the help of the senior pastor and you must enlist the support of the parents. The senior pastor needs to back you up both privately and from the pulpit. They need to advocate your cause at every turn and help people see the importance of commitment to others. You also need parents to show their support through scheduling your youth group in, and other secular activities out during youth group time. This is a tough call in today’s world, but sacrifices made for Christian fellowship are always worth it.
Oh yeah, and you need to keep praying that your youth show godly wisdom in committing themselves to the group and not their individual desires.
Press on you volunteers…your labor in the Lord is not in vain! (1 Cor. 15:58)