The important work of recruiting and equipping youth ministry volunteers, the work that makes the biggest impact on their experience, is brush-clearing. Handling the van reservations, collecting all the consent forms, producing a detailed schedule: when these things are done ahead of time, volunteers can relax into their work of relating to students and getting to know them.
Some youth ministry volunteers are brush clearers. Anxious about a one-on-one conversation with a teenager, they will eagerly make a snack run instead. Handle the snacks ahead of time.
The longer I’m at it, the more it feels like the most important parts of professional youth ministry work involve clearing the field so that the volunteers can do their work freely.