Training is an essential part of your Children’s & Family Ministry. But it can be a challenge to get your volunteers to participate. It will always be a challenge and, likely, reaching 100% attendance will be next to impossible. But there are some things which we can do to make it more likely that volunteers will attend, and even want to attend.
Do these six things consistently and soon your attendance will grow significantly.
How to Offer Training Volunteers Want to Attend
Make it Attractive
I coached a Children’s Ministry Leader one time and spent a Sunday observing at his church. He had a teacher training coming up the following weekend, and I watched as he literally apologized to his volunteers as he invited them to attend the training. Do you think many of them came, much less really wanted to attend? No! Why would anyone want to attend a training that is preceded by an apology?
Likewise, we make it hard to get excited about our training if we present it in boring ways. Some ways to make the training more attractive might include:
- Make sure the invitation looks and sounds attractive (yes, get a real graphics person to design the flyer, email or poster!).
- Share the invitation with excitement (no apologies…this is going to be great!!).
- Create some intrigue by telling the volunteers that there will be a big giveaway, or a big announcement, or tell them about a special guest who they won’t want to miss.
- Be creative and have fun with a silly announcement skit.
- If you are doing a live training, offer a pancake breakfast to precede the training, complete with the Pastor or other staff members as hosts.
There are any number of ways that you can make your training seem more attractive. Get creative and have fun with it!
Make it Valuable
No one wants to giveaway an evening or part of a weekend, or sit on a Zoom call, and walk away feeling like it was a waste of time. Find as many ways to add value as possible.
The biggest way to add value to a Children’s Ministry training, of course, is to give practical and useful tools to the team that they can use this week in their ministries. In other words, make sure the training itself is practical and adds value to what you are asking your volunteers to do every week in the classroom.
Make it Meaningful
Most of the time, “meaningful” has to do with relationships. I always say that “the deeper the relationship, the greater the ministry”. This applies with your volunteers, too. The more you can encourage and grow relationships between your team members, the greater your ministry will grow.
And don’t think for a second that your team won’t enjoy deepening their relationships with each other. The relational side of training ought to be a major focus in what you do. Find ways to open the doors to deeper relationships in a fun and engaging (and not too intimidating!) way.
Make it Inspirational
Being a volunteer can be challenging. And we all know ministry is hard, whether you are a volunteer or paid staff. We all want to be inspired to keep going. And the best way to inspire is by telling stories. So find a way to communicate stories of life change that are happening within the context of your ministry. Tell the story of the child who came to Christ. Or of the special needs child who can’t wait to come to church because they get to see that certain volunteer (who is sitting there in your training right now!). Or of the parents who came to Christ at the special event that Children’s Ministry put on.
Make it Engaging
In other words, FUN! Play games, do give aways, be silly and get your volunteers involved. The last thing you want to do is have someone lecture through the policy manual. Really…please don’t do that!
If you have a guest speaker, make sure that they know that you want your volunteers up and out of their seat, or engaged on the call, and learning through being involved.
Remmber, F-U-N is not a 4 letter word!
Make it Personal
Of course, the training is likely to be taught to a group of volunteers, the contents applying to all of them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make it personal. From having them wear name tags (especially in larger churches) so everyone knows their name, to finding ways to personally thank them for their service, make sure that each volunteer that attends is touched in a personal way.