2 Easy Techniques to Working with Empty Nester Volunteers

Empty nesters. They are going through a lot in their personal and professional lives. Now that the kids are out of the house, they are paying for their college tuition (and worrying about them at the same time), helping their kids through the independent stage after college, giving lots of advice (and money) as their kids prepare for marriage, and possibly becoming grandparents.

At the same time, many empty nesters take advantage of the opportunity to enhance their careers or start their own business (now that they have less family responsibilities at home). Many empty nesters are also discovering their house is full again as their college graduates come back home without a job or a place to live. Some empty nesters find their home not that empty.

Needless to say, just because their kids are gone does not mean that they are any less busy. In fact, I’ve heard many empty nesters say that parenting gets more difficult as the kids move out. I’ll get to experience that in 17 years.

However, they are willing and able to volunteer for your ministry.

As we near the end of my series on Who Makes the Best Volunteers, I only have 2 easy techniques to working with empty nesters as ministry volunteers:

  • Appeal to their parenting heart. What do I mean by this? Empty nesters deeply care for their young adult children. Yet, so many of them see their young adult children walk away from church completely as they enter college and beyond. For many parents, they long for their church to provide solid ministry to young adults. I’ve had many empty nesters support my ministry simply because of this fact. They give money, buy food and other needed supplies, allow us to infiltrate their home for a young adult event, and even serve on advisory boards or pastoral councils to help steer the vision of the church in a direction that helps serve young adults. Recognize this as reality and feel free to take advantage of it. This is not manipulation. Many empty nesters long for a ministry leader to step up and initiate something that could serve their young adult children.
  • Don’t make them do menial and mundane tasks. Many empty nesters are professionals who have been working in certain industries for 20 to 30 years! They have many great skills that we need in the church. These professionals have skills in marketing and advertising, strategic planning, leadership development, technology and social media, database management, financial planning, and more! Asking empty nesters to seal envelopes is a waste of their time and a terrible use of the gifts that have been presented to you by God in the form of a volunteer. Find out what skills and experience they have. Then find creative ways for them to enhance your ministry.

Question: What has been one of the most valuable skills an empty nester volunteer has brought to your ministry?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



Questions or Comments?

Join the conversation about 2 Easy Techniques to Working with Empty Nester Volunteers over in our Facebook group. GO THERE NOW

Try Out Our New Online Membership Community for Free!

Click the button below to find out more about Thrive and claim your invite to a free trial of the new community created exclusively for Catholic youth ministers.

CLICK HERE

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Become a ProjectYM VIP



You have Successfully Subscribed!