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Resources, Tips and Content for Children's Ministry and Family Life Leaders

Don’t Leave Volunteers Out In The Cold!

It was a wintery 52º yesterday morning and this sissy-la-la Southern Californian couldn’t handle the heater blowing only cold air inside the offices at work. My mind wouldn’t settle and my fingers wouldn’t function. It didn’t take long for me to pack up my laptop and head over to the nearest Starbucks to get heat to my hands, access to the free wifi, and order up a toffee nut steamer (my favorite hot beverage) to warm up my insides.

While there, I wrote plans for an upcoming volunteer team gathering. It’s the result of two months of getting to know people, understanding the existing jobs and evaluating the weekly experience from a volunteer’s point of view.

While sitting there, it occurred to me that I’m not the only person who doesn’t work well in the cold. It’s a hard place to concentrate; you find yourself working against the elements and you’re just a little bit miserable. So the thought for today is…

Don’t leave your volunteers out in the cold!

Provide a warm atmosphere, give them the tools they need and add something extra that will flavor their experience and warm them from the inside out!

 

10 Things We Need To Remember About Volunteers…

Sometimes as leaders we become so desperate to fill ministry holes that we begin to look at volunteers as simply warm bodies or names on a list. We forget that they are individuals, each on their own spiritual journey with God, worthy of relationship, inspiration, investment, encouragement, opportunity, vision and celebration.

Below is a list of 10 things we need to remember…

1. They  just said, “YES” to God when they signed up to serve.

2. They are hopeful that God will use them.

3. They are willing to give their time.

4. They each come with a unique set of gifts and talents.

5. They want to be needed.

Continue reading “10 Things We Need To Remember About Volunteers…” »

Need Volunteers?

Most people volunteer because…

Their child is a participant.

They believe in the cause.

They feel good about doing something.

They find it’s a great place to make friends.

They feel coerced by others.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if volunteers joined your ministry because they knew…

Their unique giftedness would be valued and given an opportunity to grow.

Their contribution would make a difference.

Their investment would impact eternity.

Their involvement would give them belonging and purpose.

  Continue reading “Need Volunteers?” »

Most Important Person In The Room

aka “The Fortholder.”

These are the Protectors, Master Organizers, Hosts and Managers.

They know stuff:

  • Potential hazards
  • Daily schedules
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Emergency procedures
  • Clean up policies

They know people:

  • Volunteers
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Newbies
  • Staff

Continue reading “Most Important Person In The Room” »

Enlisting Volunteers

Fall is almost here, and once again it’s time to enlist, equip and empower new volunteers.
Share you best practices.
What things have you done to successfully FIND and SIGN-UP new volunteers?

Pastor Greg Sidders
White Pine Community Church, North Yarmouth, Maine

First Serve:  Sunday morning “ministry fair”, coupled with message on spiritual gifts/serving, that allows people to sign up for a one-time serving opportunity.

Announcements in church don’t work; it has to be a personal invitation.

Jenni Huter, Children’s Ministry Director
Rancho Community Church, Temecula, CA

Contacting those who have just taken the summer off is always the easiest. It’s just a matter of getting people plugged back in. A well-deserved break usually regenerates enthusiasm.

Last year our lead pastor invited Daniel Watts, Executive Director from Every Generation Ministries, to speak during our weekend services. He spoke on Matthew 19 and shared Jesus’s heart for children. In conjunction, we promoted a new ministry called “30-Family Challenge.” It encouraged families to serve together in Children’s Ministry. It was very successful. We had an influx of families, as well as individuals who enlisted to serve with us. Many Continue reading “Enlisting Volunteers” »

Think Before You ASK

When inviting someone in to play a role in ministry there are a few key elements you should think through first.

1. Know what you’re inviting people into.

If it’s all foggy and undefined, tell them. If it requires a lot of time and is complicated, be straightforward. If it’s mapped out, but has limitations, restrictions and deadlines, let them know upfront. Honesty is always the best policy and it helps others make good decisions. When possible, offer a clearly defined job description as well.

2. Cast vision. Explain the eternal impact of each job.

Whether it’s a core team member or one of the many others who will hold a specific position or serve on the front line, state the kingdom impact clearly and repeat it often.

Volunteers who care for little ones in the nursery subliminally teach children that God cares for their needs, loves them and is trustworthy. They also grant each child one of the best gifts possible—designated weekly time for their parents to focus on their own relationship with God. Remind volunteers that the best thing you can give a child is a parent who is learning to fully depend upon God for wisdom, direction and strength.

Continue reading “Think Before You ASK” »

Don’t Travel Alone — Build A Team

The task of leading children of all ages to Christ is enormous and requires a large group of people with a variety of gifts and strengths. But where are you going to find those people and how are you going to get them to make the journey with you?

Bill Hybels from Willow Creek in Chicago once said, “The first rule of building a team is affinity.” I was new to ministry, sitting in an audience of thousands when I wrote this down in my notes and I wasn’t even sure what it meant. But over the years, I’ve come to bank on this statement. When building a core team, always think affinity first!

AFFINITY FIRST!

 Affinity is defined as having a feeling of identification with; a likeness based upon connection; a kinship; a similarity.

Imagine ministry as a 3,342.4 mile car ride from California to Maine in a Honda Fit. You know where you’re going and you know your mode of transportation is trustworthy although a bit lacking in comfort. You’re inviting companions to join the adventure and travel with you; companions to keep you awake, take turns driving, and help decide where to eat, where to sleep and when to stop for gas. Hopefully you won’t encounter car trouble, but if you do, your companions will help with decision-making and extend the boundaries of your personal resources. You’re pretty sure that along the way you’ll encounter the expected, the extraordinary, the bizarre and the mundane. It’s the shared experience inside that car that will give you camaraderie, create memories, provide entertainment and keep you moving forward in the right direction. From time-to-time constraints of space, finances or other needs may cause frustration, but they will push you toward collective creativity, teamwork and opportunities to extend grace.

Continue reading “Don’t Travel Alone — Build A Team” »

The Big Picture

Children’s Ministry—you think it’s about children, but it’s not!

Most people say, “Yes” to working in children’s ministry because they love children, have children, think working with children will be fun, or believe it may be the least stressful volunteer option that has been placed before them. As the leader, however, you know children are just the beginning. The job is much more.

Children’s Ministry is unlike any other educational ministry in the church in that it requires a large team of volunteers to make it happen. A Pastor can teach a room of a thousand adults standing alone on the front stage. Youth Pastors, Women’s Ministry Leaders and even Worship Pastors can do the same. But the moment you have that second infant handed to you, you’ve reached capacity, safekeeping becomes an issue and you find yourself outnumbered.

Leading Children’s Ministry is more about developing a team of volunteers than interacting with children. You might hold the vision, write the lesson plans, organize the supplies, lead the worship and greet families at the door, but if there aren’t other adults and helpers in the room who know each child by name and are prepared to assist, your desire to run an excellent program is at risk.

In fact, the reality is You serve 4 populations!

Continue reading “The Big Picture” »

The Volunteer Engine

Church ministries run on volunteer fuel, and yet rarely does it seem that their tanks are full. Even when momentum is good, energy is abundant and it feels like a well-oiled machine, leaders know that without proper maintenance and a scheduled refueling the engine will soon sputter and die.

The best recruiting campaigns can always tap into new energy sources, but it’s not a quick refueling that we need. Getting new volunteers should not be a quick stop at the gas pump every time we need help, but rather a careful look at the specific design, construction and special features of the person we are inviting onto the track.

The focus of recruiting should be designing the pathway each volunteer will experience and training the technicians who will point the way on the journey.

Continue reading “The Volunteer Engine” »