Let’s face it, assimilating volunteers into our ministry is challenging. We need to have systems and processes in place to guide us through the recruiting, screening, training & placement of volunteers.
Often times, though, once volunteers are ready to step into ministry, we get that “deer in the headlights” look. Especially those who’ve never served before, are relatively new to the faith, or young people. They don’t know what to do and feel overwhelmed!
That’s when I try and simplify for them and help them focus on just a few things. They don’t need to be a theologian, or a child behavior expert, or even understand all the policies & procedures of our ministry. As they get started, I want them to focus on just a few things (everything else they need to know will come with time). Here are 5 of the most important:
A Children’s Ministry Volunteer Primer
Safety is our #1 concern…physical, emotional & spiritual safety is critical to accomplishing our purpose.
Kids know fake. Just be real and engage with kids naturally.
Enthusiasm makes up for a great deal of deficiencies. Kids are drawn to enthusiastic adults.
This is closely aligned with “Be Safe”. Without scaring the volunteer, I want to communicate the importance of following a few basic policies, like never, ever be alone with a child. It’s as much for their sake as the child’s.
Much of their role, besides engaging with the children, is to help the kids focus on what’s happening in the session. If the lead teacher is up front, or if there’s worship happening, or a game being played, be supportive and help the kids focus on what’s going on. Don’t facilitate distraction.
If my volunteers can get a handle on these few things, they’ll be off to a good start. The rest will come with time.
What would you add to a Children’s Ministry Volunteer Primer?
(Please comment below.)