Our children’s ministries are dependent on volunteer. Without them, children’s ministry – or just about any ministry! – doesn’t happen.
Too often, though, when someone says they’ll volunteer, we simply throw them in the room with the kids and that’s the last they hear from us unless there’s an emergency.
We can’t do that.
If we’re doing ministry on purpose, that means we are communicating effectively with our team. And there are certain things that are critical for them to know.
7 Things Every Ministry Volunteer Needs To Know
1. That you care about them personally.
You’ve heard the saying that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. That applies here. If you’re team doesn’t think you really care about them, good luck keeping them engaged over the long haul. Love them, care for them, and remember what we always say: ministry always happens best in the context of relationships. Caring for your volunteers not only benefits them, but also increases the health of your ministry.
2. That their ministry needs to flow from their own relationship from God.
As leaders, we need to know where each individual on our team is at spiritually. Too often our service replaces our relationship, and that’s not good. Our team needs to have a vital relationship with God first, then allow their service to flow from that. And they need to understand that by the language we speak and the values we communicate.
3. That a clear and compelling vision for your ministry drives everything.
Do your volunteers know what your ministry is really all about? Do they know how what they do fits into the articulated vision? They need to because what they do and how they do it needs to be a reflection of that vision.
4. That they are capable and equipped to do what you’ve asked them to do.
One of the main reasons volunteers quit – or don’t begin in the first place – is because they feel inadequate. Equipping and encouraging them in what they are doing will go a very long way to retaining them for the long haul and, of course, increase the effectiveness of their ministry.
5. That the Gospel is central.
I once sat in on my 3rd grade class where a visiting child asked if the teacher could tell them more about Jesus. Her response? “No, I’m sorry but today’s lesson is about Jonah.”
I was mortified. I hadn’t communicated that our curriculum was just a guide, but that the Gospel of Jesus was what we were all about…SO FEEL FREE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL IF A KID ASKS!!
6. That their ideas are welcome.
Yes, many of us are paid to do what we do. That doesn’t mean that we know everything…but we act like we do sometimes.
You will do a better job and your ministry will be far more effective if it’s a collaboration with your team. But they need to know that by the way you speak and interact with them. And, of course, it goes beyond just listening to their ideas – sometimes it means implementing them.
7. That their ministry is not confined to the classroom.
We live in a busy world and just getting volunteers in the first place is far more challenging than it used to be (although a clear and compelling vision usually offsets that nicely!). Asking for more than what they do in the classroom might seem like a stretch.
But it will make all the difference for both them and the kids they serve.
So don’t be afraid to ask and encourage them to connect with kids outside the classroom. Attend a ballgame. Have lunch with the family. Send birthday cards. It’s really not that hard to make connections. And be sure to support them in any way you can (it’s amazing how offering to send the birthday cards will motivate someone to do it!).