3 Reasons You Need To STOP Telling Everyone You Need Help!

HELP

Picture this:  It’s an average Sunday Morning in church in Anytown, USA.  The kids are bouncing off the walls, the crowd is buzzing, and the energy is palpable! Suddenly, the silence is broken with a booming voice echoing through the halls. It’s the voice of the Children’s Ministry Director.  She’s talking to a group of people whom she sees as possible volunteers.  Then, the words come out – “We need HELP!  We are overwhelmed!  We have so many kids and not enough workers!  HELP US!”

This is perhaps THE most ineffective way to recruit new team members.  There is nothing worse than a Children’s Ministry Director standing up in front of the congregation and saying, “We are so overwhelmed.  We HAVE to have help!  PLEASE HELP US!”

Here are three reasons why that tactic is generally ineffective:

  1. It sends the wrong message to the audience. – The audience doesn’t hear “Things are so hopping and amazing in Kids Ministry” when they hear you say, “We need help!”   They most likely hear, “We don’t have it together.  We are drowning.  We are desperate!”
  2. You are talking them out of helping before you ever even ask. – This type of approach makes the would-be recruit think, “There must be a reason they don’t have enough workers.  Obviously, no one wants to work with them.”
  3. Nobody wants to board a sinking ship. – When you recruit from a “need”, it does not inspire anyone to join your team.  It engenders fear in them and they want no part of it.

NEVER use the phrase, “No one wants to help!” OR “I can’t get anyone to help me!”  That’s a lot like my son, who when he has something he wants to ask me, will often begin his question by saying, “I know you are going to say NO, but…”  Guess what?  I immediately say, “No!”  I figure there must be a reason that he THINKS I am going to say NO.  So, I just beat him to the punch.

Rather than recruit from a NEED, recruit from an opportunity!  Explain to those would-be volunteers that, as a result of what God is doing in your Children’s Ministry, an opportunity has arisen.  Let them know you have been praying about who the person should be to serve in this area.  Tell them you felt led to talk to them because you feel that they have the right gift mix to be able to make a Kingdom difference in the lives of these kids.  Now, THAT is a recruitment strategy straight out of Matthew 9:37-38 —

Jesus said to his disciples,“The harvest is great, but the workers are few.   So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”  

Do you ever catch yourself recruiting from a NEED and “asking for help?”  What is one thing you can do this week to change that?  Leave a comment and join the conversation!

3 Keys To Adding MORE Volunteers To Your Ministry Team

Recruiting Volunteers

It’s a question I get on a regular basis:  “How do you get folks in the church to volunteer when they think it is the Children’s Pastor’s job to do the ministry?”

This is one of the most difficult tasks of a Kidmin Leader – Recruiting Volunteers.  I can tell you, there is no magic formula.  The only way to recruit successfully is by CONTINUOUS hard work and adherence to a few key principles.  However, there are three important keys that I live by.   Hopefully they will help you to build a strong team of leaders to serve the children of your church.

Keys To Adding MORE Volunteers To Your Ministry Team:

1)  Don’t recruit from a NEED, rather recruit from an OPPORTUNITY.

There is nothing worse than a Children’s Ministry Director standing up in front of the congregation and saying, “We are so overwhelmed.  We MUST have help!  PLEASE HELP US!“  That tells the person listening:  “There must be a reason no one is working with them.”

NEVER use the phrase, “No one wants to help! OR I can’t get anyone to help me!”  That’s like my son starting off a question, “I know you are going to say NO, but…”

Rather than moan about how much we need help, choose to celebrate the growth and excitement of your Kids Ministry.  Don’t talk about what you DON’T have, talk about what you DO have – opportunities for the member of your church to make an eternal impact on a soul for whom Christ died.

2)  Recruit from the VISION of your ministry.

Start by raising the value of children’s ministry inside your church.   Share stories in church services about life change in children or have volunteers share stories about how their lives have been changed.  Serving in children’s ministry is an opportunity to honor God—not a duty or a task (Col. 3:23).

You are recruiting by giving people an opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the children of your church.  Explain to them, “God is going to accomplish His plan in the lives of  the children in our church.  The question is not ‘WILL God do it?’ The question is ‘WILL YOU be a part of it?’”

3)  Recruit One-On-One and Face-to-Face.

Rather than putting a blurb in the bulletin, a video announcement, or a pulpit spot from your Senior Pastor, recruit by approaching people one-on-one and having a meaningful conversation with them.

Pray ahead of time who God is preparing to serve (Luke 10:22).  Once He leads you to someone, approach them.  Don’t just walk up in the hallway at church – that doesn’t communicate value to someone.  Instead, invite them to lunch, call them on the phone, or go out to eat with them after church.

Explain to them that as a result of what God is doing in your Children’s Ministry, an opportunity has arisen.  You have been praying about who the person should be to serve in this area.  You felt led to talk to them because you feel that they have the right gift mix to be able to make a Kingdom difference in the lives of these kids.

I know that adding volunteers to your team is a lot of work!  But, I can honestly tell you that EVERY BIT of that work is WORTH IT!!  Get out there and build your team so you can win the lost!!!

What about you?  What are some of your biggest key principles that you follow when it comes to recruiting?  Share with us in the comments section!

Kids Ministry F.A.T. C.A.T.S.

 

The last few posts have been about the importance of building a team, but once you have made the choice to do ministry as a team, then you need to make sure you choose the right kind of people to be your Kidmin team members.  It’s not about just “getting a warm body to sit in this classroom with these kids.”  You want your team to be remarkable.  You want a bunch of F.A.T. C.A.T.S.!

F – Faithful

When you assemble your ministry team, look for those who are faithful.  Faithful people show up when they say they will, they serve with excellence, and they are reliable in every situation.  Remind your team that all of us want to one day enter heaven and hear these words: 

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.’”  – Matthew 25:19

A – Available

As I mentioned, you don’t just want to find any warm body to serve in Children’s Ministry.  Being available is not about “not having anything else to do.”  “Available” is an attitude that says, “I am willing to serve in whatever capacity will advance the Kingdom of God.”  When assembling your team, recruit people who are available to serve wherever needed because they have a passion to reach kids, not people with the “I don’t do windows” mentality.

T – Teachable

I’ve been in Children’s Ministry for over twenty years, and I STILL have so much to learn.  A teachable spirit is something a person must possess if they are going to be effective in ministry.  The more you learn, the more you find out just how much there is you still don’t know.  A ministry team will only grow to the point that its leader is willing to grow.  No matter how much we may know, there is so much more to learn if we want our ministry to flourish.

C – Committed

In society today, commitment is a value that seems to be waning in importance.  Whether it is commitment to a career, a marriage, or church, finding an everyday American that is wholeheartedly committed to something is difficult.   Being committed means a person will “stick with it” no matter how difficult the conditions become.

A – Accountable

Accountability is something we often want from others, but rarely want to give to others.  In a ministry team, accountability is a key factor for things to run smoothly.  When you are building your ministry team, don’t look for those who refuse to submit themselves to authority.  Look for those who are willing to be accountable to you as their leader.

T – Transparent

Too often we try to hide our real self and put on a front for others.  We don’t want to admit our faults, our weaknesses, or our failures.  On a ministry team, this works against the goal of “working together.”  When you can’t share your feelings, fears, or failures with someone, there’s no real trust there.  Without trust, every team will falter.  Oftentimes, we project a false version of ourselves for others to see.  Rather than be genuine and authentic we are pretentious and fake.  Rather than be transparent, we find ourselves putting up walls between ourselves and our fellow team members.

Transparency is a quality that each member of your ministry team should possess.  Really, transparency is about integrity and is powerful in bonding relationships on a team.  It builds trust and breaks down walls.  Ephesians 4:15 says,  “Let our lives lovingly express the truth in all things–speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly.”   That’s being transparent.

S – Serving

Dwight L. Moody once said, “The measure of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many men he serves.”  One of the greatest traits of anyone in ministry is having a heart for serving others.  What is ministry all about?  It’s about serving others.  As we ministry to children, there are many times when we are going to be required to do things that are out of our comfort zone (crazy characters, pies-in-the-face, and lock-ins just to name a few).  We must seek to display a heart of service that says, “Whatever I have to do to reach these kids, I will do it!”

Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else (Mark 9:35).”

There are so many children to reach and so little time to reach them.  We need to partner with those who are faithful, available, teachable, committed, accountable, transparent, and serving in order to accomplish this Great Commission.  It’s time to get some F.A.T. C.A.T.S. on your Kid’s Ministry team!

Five Reasons To Have A “TEAM” Approach To Ministry

changes in philosophy

I have made a decision that I never want to do ministry alone.  Whenever possible, I try to make sure that I have someone with me.  If make a home visit, I bring someone along.  When I am speaking at a conference, I bring someone with me.  When I am visiting a child in the hospital, I bring someone along.  Every chance I get I want to add to the ministry team God has called me to lead.

Reasons to have a team approach:

1)   Avoid Burnout

If you insist on being “the man” or “the woman” in your Kids Ministry, you will eventually come to the point where that is no longer effective.  You will wear out physically, mentally, or spiritually if you insist on being THE one doing the work of the ministry.

2)   Make Room For Growth

There is a limit to how many kids you alone can effectively reach.  If you don’t train and release others to do the work of the ministry, you have basically decided, “We are going to reach (insert number) of kids and that’s it!”  When you get to Heaven, you don’t want to have to say to God, “Well, I wanted to reach more kids, but I was a glory-hog who didn’t allow others to shine in their ministry gifts.  So, we had to settle for less.”

3)   Allow Others To Use Their God-Given Gifts And Talents To Build The Kingdom

When you insist on doing it yourself because “it will get done faster and will be done the way I want it to be done”, then you are depriving others from fulfilling their God-given potential.  Ephesians 4:11,12 teaches that God chose some to be pastors, teachers, apostles, evangelists, and prophets “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”.  As a pastor/teacher, your job is to “prepare God’s people for works of service.”  Are you doing that?

4)   Prepare The Kids Ministry For The Future

As much as it may come as a shock to you, you most likely will not serve your current Kids Ministry and church forever.  God may call you elsewhere or circumstances may arise that cause you to have to leave.  It’s not something you can always plan for.  How sad would it be if you were to leave not having ever trained or prepared anyone to sustain the ministry in your absence.  What will your legacy be?

5)   To Follow Jesus’ Example

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, He didn’t venture out on his own.  He assembled a team of twelve men to be involved in ministry with Him.  When Jesus said, “Go into all the world…” during the great commission, He wasn’t just speaking to 500 random individuals.  He was speaking to a ministry team.  If Jesus needed a team, who are we to think we should do any different.

The opportunity to minister to children is one of the highest honors and pleasures one can experience.  It’s also one of the most challenging.  So, why would anyone want to take the “solo route” and try to be a Lone Ranger in Children’s Ministry?  It’s ludicrous.  Besides that – even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.  🙂

Recruiting Volunteers pt. 3

picking up where pt. 2 left off – here is the conclusion of my thoughts on recruiting volunteers…

8)  Develop a job description and communicate CLEAR expectations.

You can’t expect a volunteer to “just know” what they need to do.   When possible, give a complete list of expectations in writing to avoid confusion.  There is nothing worse than giving someone a job to do and not clearly communicating expectations.  The volunteer has no way to know if they are doing what is expected or not.  This breeds confusion, so communicate expectations ON PAPER so there is no question as to their duties.

9)  Partner the new recruit with an effective member of your team.

The best way for someone to learn how to do their job effectively is to watch someone else in action.  Find the member of your team that is really knocking it out of the park and connect the new recruit with them for at least three weeks.  Allow them to observe not only what they DO, but what they DON’T do.  Leave the door open for the new recruit to come back and ask questions when they feel it is necessary.

10)  Encourage your entire volunteer team to be “relentless recruiters”.

It is important that YOU are not the only one pumping up the ministry and asking others to be involved.  People expect the Children’s Ministry Leader to recruit.   The very best recruiters are the ones who actively involved in the ministry on a volunteer basis.

People expect the Children’s Leader to say, “You’ll love it!  Come join the team!”  But, when one of their peers who is involved in Children’s Ministry speaks to them and is excited about it – that speaks much louder!