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!

Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 2

KIDMIN QUESTION:

“When recruiting, how do you help potential volunteers respond out of the right motivation (God honoring, using their gifts, etc) instead of guilt?” – submitted by Donna Leupp in Peshtigo, WI

Picking up where Pt. 1 left off – here are more principles to follow when recruiting volunteers for your Kidmin Team…

4)  Develop a ministry application for volunteers to complete.

Sit down and put together an application that not only gathers pertinent contact information, but also asks probing questions that give you insight into the person you are considering.  What are their likes/dislikes?  What experience do they have working with kids?  What are their gifts and talents?  What do they consider “success” in ministry?

This should ALWAYS include a criminal background check and personal references.  We all know too well of incidences where children are harmed by adults within an organization/charitable group.  Churches are no exception, and it is our responsibility to make sure that the kids who come to learn about God at church are well protected.  There are many places online for you to get background checks on a limited budget.

Having an application also elevates the importance of the ministry in the applicant’s eyes AND in the eyes of your parents.  It speaks volumes as to how serious you are about running a safe and secure environment.

5)  Recruit volunteers based on their GIFTS.

Never recruit a volunteer simply to complete a task.  In other words don’t say, “I need someone to take care of my 5th grade boys class.”  Rather, offer people opportunities to make an eternal difference by using their spiritual gifts.  Study the application and see what the volunteer’s spiritual gifts are.

This will help you ensure that you don’t put someone who is gifted in teaching in charge of taking attendance and doing administration.  It will make sure you don’t put someone with the gift of hospitality in charge of organization the supply closet.  This way, every spiritual gift is honored and used for the sake of the kids.

It requires trust.  Trust in God to bring the right people to your team – and trust in your ability to place people where their gifts will shine!  Pray!  Believe!  God will lead you in the process!

6)  Ask the advice and consent of other Staff Pastors and your Lead Pastor BEFORE placing someone in their area of ministry.

This may be hard for you to believe, but you don’t know EVERYTHING.  🙂  Your pastor or other staff may be aware of situations in the recruited volunteer’s life that precludes them from being involved in ministry at the present time.  This may involve spiritual issues, emotional issues, or family issues.

Also, the volunteer may be involved in many other areas of ministry that you are not aware of and may be stretched too thin.  The last thing you would want to do is place someone in ministry with the kids, have them make a strong bond with the kids, and then have them “burn out” because they are stretched too thin.

Quite honestly, it would be wise to get input from your Pastor even BEFORE you approach the volunteer.  It will help you immensely and save you a world of hurt!

MORE TO COME in Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 3…

Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 1

Recruiting Volunteers

KIDMIN QUESTION:

“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?” – submitted by Mike Benintende, N. Versailles, PA

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.  In the next few posts, I will share some of those keys that I have learned.  Hopefully they will help you to build a strong team of leaders to serve the children of your church.

Keys To Recruiting A Volunteer 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 HAVE to 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.

MORE TO COME in “Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 2″…


Kids Ministry Philosophy

changes in philosophy

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“What has been the biggest change in your Kids Ministry philosophy in the past 20 years?” – submitted by Jon Warneke of Polson, MT

It’s hard to believe I am even qualified to answer this question, since to do so means I would have actually had to BE IN Kids Ministry for nearly 20 years.  It’s true though – I am officially an OLD MAN!

I began my Kids Ministry life in 1992 as a sophomore in College serving at a local church.  I had NO idea what I was doing when it came to leading kids on their spiritual journey.  I started leading Kids Church with just a couple of volunteers.  I grew up putting on shows, acting, performing, etc.  I knew how to draw a crowd, so the entire Kids Ministry pretty well consisted of…ME doing MY thing.

It’s one of my biggest regrets.  I was having a great time.  I enjoyed singing, acting, teaching, and praying with the kids.  The problem is I spent a great deal of time running the Kid’s Ministry as a “one man show.”  I wondered why I couldn’t get people to volunteer in Kids Church.  It was because when they came, I never trained them and never let them flourish.

Sadly, I allowed my Children’s Ministry to become “personality-driven” instead of TEAM-driven.  Why did I do that?  Because I was convinced it was easier to just do it myself than to try to train someone else to do it.  And, that is true – in the short-term.  It takes a lot of work and commitment to train and build a team that is effective.  Sadly, my first decade of Kids Ministry wasn’t half of what it could have been if I had learned this lesson earlier.

Don’t try to do it alone.  There are many individuals that God is calling to work with kids in your church.  You have to pray for God to call them, receive them when they answer the call, and train them so they can be effective in that ministry.

Ten years ago, you could have walked into my Children’s Church service and I was on stage nearly the entire time.  Now, on any given week I’m on stage no more than 15% of the time, and many weeks I am NEVER on stage.

If you are trying to do the work of the ministry alone – shame on you.  Jesus needed a team to accomplish His goal, what makes you better than Him?  You are depriving people of the opportunity to serve out their God-given assignment to minister to the kids in your church and community.  Don’t be a superstar – build a team!

P.S.  Congratulations to Joseph Mater, the winner of our $200 drawing for my first post!