Volunteers are the lifeblood of effective Children’s Ministry (actually, any ministry!). Without them, we can accomplish little. So assimilating them effectively is vital! It’s the first real exposure the potential team member has to the team. Attitudes, perceptions and standards are all initially formed during this phase.
So how do we make this process effective? Here are 4 steps to follow:?
Before you can actually assimilate a new volunteer, you’ve got to find them! We’ve talked about why you need to stop recruiting?(and you can click here, here & here for additional posts about “recruiting”) but, essentially, we are identifying people who might be a great fit for our team. In order to do this, we need to:
- Know?the available opportunities
- Know the qualifications, gifts & abilities you are looking for in each?opportunity
- Share your vision and invite people to meet the opportunity
Informing of the opportunity begins with vision casting. Building your team is all about that – vision! So if they can’t buy in to the vision, they probably aren’t a good fit for the team. Beyond the vision, though, potential team members need to be informed of:
- commitment levels (is this weekly, once a month, occasional?)
- expectations (what, exactly, are you asking them to do? This would include actual tasks (teaching, leading worship, etc.), as well as the “other stuff” (attend training, call/visit kids during the week, help with VBS, etc.)
- support (this should be a partnership, so how are you going to equip and support them as they serve?)
Do NOT bring volunteers into your ministry without investigating them. I don’t care how well you think you know them. When we don’t investigate, we are setting up our church, our team, ourselves and, most importantly, our kids, for potential harm. This harm might be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. None of us want to be responsible for that. So investigate through:
- screening (application, background checks, reference checks, policy agreement, etc.)
- face to face interview (with standard interview questions)
- gift testing (because?the success of your volunteer is largely dependent on how well they fit the role they are given)
Once your potential volunteer has bought in to the vision, accepted the “terms” of the commitment, successfully passed all screening, and agreed on a good fit based on their talents, experience and giftedness, it’s time to get them involved. This should include:
- orientation (including review of policy and procedures, where things are, how to access support, etc.)
- introduction to fellow team members (within the environment they serve, staff members, etc.)
- basic training (curriculum use, skills relevant to their assignment, etc.)
Identify, inform, investigate and involve…then?continually?Inspire?them as they serve.?
Please share (in comments below)
some tips you’ve learned about assimilating volunteers