4 Steps to Assimilating New Volunteers in Children’s Ministry

4 Steps to Assimilating New Volunteers in Children’s Ministry

teamVolunteers 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: 

Identify

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

Inform

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?)

Investigate

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)

Involve

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

 

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Greg Baird
Founder of Children's Ministry Leader & Vice President of Global Resources at David C Cook
The most important thing to know about me is that I am blessed beyond measure to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to have married way over my head to my wife, Michele, and that I have two incredible grown sons named Taylor and Garret.

I serve as the Vice President of Global Resources in the Global Mission department at David C. Cook.

I love what I do as it is the outflow of 25 years of ministry experience as Children’s, Family & Administrative Pastor, consultant, trainer, speaker and short-term missions leader.

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