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So you’re at Starbucks, sitting across the table from a potential new volunteer. This is a big moment. You’re about to decide whether or not this person you barely know is qualified to lead, influence, and disciple a group of kids you love and are responsible for. So how do you make that decision? What do you ask?

You know my favorite thing about social media? Crowdsourcing.

Last week on Twitter and Facebook, I asked a question…

What are your MUST-ASK QUESTIONS when interviewing a potential volunteer?

Especially volunteers in high-level positions. Like small group leaders.

And I got a ton of great responses, because the internet is awesome, and you guys are even awesomer. So I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite questions, and then open things up one more time for a little more crowdsourcing. Let’s take a peek, shall we?


Apparently a lot of us already ask a lot of similar questions when we’re interviewing volunteers, so this is my attempt at summarizing the most popular questions I’ve run across.

1. TELL ME YOUR STORY. Listen, and then share your own.

2. WHAT YOUR INTERESTS, GIFTS, AND PASSIONS? Aside from the role they’ve signed up for, are there any hidden gifts or talents they might want to use for ministry?

3. WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH THIS AGE GROUP? Find out why working with kids that age appeals to them. Do they have realistic expectations of what it will be like?

4. WHY DO YOU WANT TO SERVE IN THIS CAPACITY? Have they caught the vision of the role they’re signing up for? Do they understand why it matters?

5. DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE TALKING A KID THROUGH MAKING A DECISION FOR JESUS? You might be surprised how many people don’t feel prepared or comfortable with this. Coach them through it. You may want to have a resource available, like this one. 

6. HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL HEALTH? Are they practicing community? Is spiritual growth a priority? Are they living the kind of life you’d want kids to emulate?

7. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE EXPECTATIONS OF THIS ROLE? Walk through the details of the role: like when to show up, how to prepare, and what exactly it means to succeed in their role.

8. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Is anything still unclear? Do they disagree with any part of your ministry philosophy or strategy? Any major concerns they want to voice? Give them permission and the space to be honest.


There were a ton of great questions, so here are a few others I thought were pretty awesome.


What does it mean for you to be “above reproach” in your personal life?

Are you open to accountability? Can I call you out? Will you call me out?

Where else are you committed or volunteering? What is your schedule like? Do you have healthy boundaries on your time?


If you could get a kid to understand one thing about God, what would it be? Why?

When kids in your small group don’t show up or behave the way you’d like, how will you respond? How will you handle discipline?

When a kid tells you about a poor decision they’ve made in their personal life, how will you respond?

Tell me about your life when you were a kid/middle schooler/high schooler.

Tell me about the youth ministry you experienced as a kid.

What do you think? What needs to be added to this list? Let’s keep the crowdsourcing going!

Photo by High Five For Love Photography.

And big thanks to everyone who shared the contents of their brains so these lists could be compiled: Ben Read, Phillip Carroll, Aaron Salvato, Luke Swain, Jeremy Hall, Justin Knowles, Kyle Curry, Dan Istvanik, Tom Chappell Lewis, Sean Patrick Carroll, Mike Pitts, Benwa Kelm, Jim Scudder, Jeremy Zach, Nate Rice, Andy Averill, Eddie Witkowski, John Waldo, Kent Bjurstrom, Michael Lukaszewski, Laine Melikian, and anyone else I missed. 🙂