Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 2

KIDMIN QUESTION:

“When recruiting, how do you help potential volunteers respond out of the right motivation (God honoring, using their gifts, etc) instead of guilt?” – submitted by Donna Leupp in Peshtigo, WI

Picking up where Pt. 1 left off – here are more principles to follow when recruiting volunteers for your Kidmin Team…

4)  Develop a ministry application for volunteers to complete.

Sit down and put together an application that not only gathers pertinent contact information, but also asks probing questions that give you insight into the person you are considering.  What are their likes/dislikes?  What experience do they have working with kids?  What are their gifts and talents?  What do they consider “success” in ministry?

This should ALWAYS include a criminal background check and personal references.  We all know too well of incidences where children are harmed by adults within an organization/charitable group.  Churches are no exception, and it is our responsibility to make sure that the kids who come to learn about God at church are well protected.  There are many places online for you to get background checks on a limited budget.

Having an application also elevates the importance of the ministry in the applicant’s eyes AND in the eyes of your parents.  It speaks volumes as to how serious you are about running a safe and secure environment.

5)  Recruit volunteers based on their GIFTS.

Never recruit a volunteer simply to complete a task.  In other words don’t say, “I need someone to take care of my 5th grade boys class.”  Rather, offer people opportunities to make an eternal difference by using their spiritual gifts.  Study the application and see what the volunteer’s spiritual gifts are.

This will help you ensure that you don’t put someone who is gifted in teaching in charge of taking attendance and doing administration.  It will make sure you don’t put someone with the gift of hospitality in charge of organization the supply closet.  This way, every spiritual gift is honored and used for the sake of the kids.

It requires trust.  Trust in God to bring the right people to your team – and trust in your ability to place people where their gifts will shine!  Pray!  Believe!  God will lead you in the process!

6)  Ask the advice and consent of other Staff Pastors and your Lead Pastor BEFORE placing someone in their area of ministry.

This may be hard for you to believe, but you don’t know EVERYTHING.  🙂  Your pastor or other staff may be aware of situations in the recruited volunteer’s life that precludes them from being involved in ministry at the present time.  This may involve spiritual issues, emotional issues, or family issues.

Also, the volunteer may be involved in many other areas of ministry that you are not aware of and may be stretched too thin.  The last thing you would want to do is place someone in ministry with the kids, have them make a strong bond with the kids, and then have them “burn out” because they are stretched too thin.

Quite honestly, it would be wise to get input from your Pastor even BEFORE you approach the volunteer.  It will help you immensely and save you a world of hurt!

MORE TO COME in Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 3…

Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 1

Recruiting Volunteers

KIDMIN QUESTION:

“How do you get folks in the church to volunteer when they think it is the Children’s Pastor’s job to do the ministry?” – submitted by Mike Benintende, N. Versailles, PA

This is one of the most difficult tasks of a Kidmin Leader – Recruiting Volunteers.  I can tell you, there is no magic formula.  The only way to recruit successfully is by CONTINUOUS hard work and adherence to a few key principles.  In the next few posts, I will share some of those keys that I have learned.  Hopefully they will help you to build a strong team of leaders to serve the children of your church.

Keys To Recruiting A Volunteer Team:

1)  Don’t recruit from a NEED, rather recruit from an OPPORTUNITY.

There is nothing worse than a Children’s Ministry Director standing up in front of the congregation and saying, “We are so overwhelmed.  We HAVE to have help!  PLEASE HELP US!“  That tells the person listening:  “There must be a reason no one is working with them.”

NEVER use the phrase, “No one wants to help! OR I can’t get anyone to help me!”  That’s like my son starting off a question, “I know you are going to say NO, but…”

Rather than moan about how much we need help, choose to celebrate the growth and excitement of your Kids Ministry.  Don’t talk about what you DON’T have, talk about what you DO have – opportunities for the member of your church to make an eternal impact on a soul for whom Christ died.

2)  Recruit from the VISION of your ministry.

Start by raising the value of children’s ministry inside your church.   Share stories in church services about life change in children or have volunteers share stories about how their lives have been changed.  Serving in children’s ministry is an opportunity to honor God—not a duty or a task (Col. 3:23).

You are recruiting by giving people an opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the children of your church.  Explain to them, “God is going to accomplish His plan in the lives of  the children in our church.  The question is not ‘WILL God do it?’ The question is ‘WILL YOU be a part of it?’”

3)  Recruit One-On-One and Face-to-Face.

Rather than putting a blurb in the bulletin, a video announcement, or a pulpit spot from your Senior Pastor, recruit by approaching people one-on-one and having a meaningful conversation with them.

Pray ahead of time who God is preparing to serve (Luke 10:22).  Once He leads you to someone, approach them.  Don’t just walk up in the hallway at church – that doesn’t communicate value to someone.  Instead, invite them to lunch, call them on the phone, or go out to eat with them after church.

Explain to them that as a result of what God is doing in your Children’s Ministry, an opportunity has arisen.  You have been praying about who the person should be to serve in this area.  You felt led to talk to them because you feel that they have the right gift mix to be able to make a Kingdom difference in the lives of these kids.

MORE TO COME in “Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 2″…


Top 5 Reasons To Have A “Team Approach” To Ministry

changes in philosophy

After such an overwhelming response to last week’s post about my biggest change in Kidmin Philosophy from doing ministry as a “one-man-show” to a “team approach”, I had a ton of different questions regarding that same topic.  So, rather than choose just ONE question, I thought I would expand a bit on the reasons to approach Kids Ministry as a team.

I have made a decision that I never want to do ministry alone.  Whenever possible, I try to make sure that I have someone with me.  If make a home visit, I bring someone along.  When I am speaking at a conference, I bring someone with me.  When I am visiting a child in the hospital, I bring someone along.  Every chance I get I want to add to the ministry team God has called me to lead.

Reasons to have a team approach:

1)   Avoid Burnout

If you insist on being “the man” or “the woman” in your Kids Ministry, you will eventually come to the point where that is no longer effective.  You will wear out physically, mentally, or spiritually if you insist on being THE one doing the work of the ministry.

2)   Make Room For Growth

There is a limit to how many kids you alone can effectively reach.  If you don’t train and release others to do the work of the ministry, you have basically decided, “We are going to reach (insert number) of kids and that’s it!”  When you get to Heaven, you don’t want to have to say to God, “Well, I wanted to reach more kids, but I was a glory-hog who didn’t allow others to shine in their ministry gifts.  So, we had to settle for less.”

3)   Allow Others To Use Their God-Given Gifts And Talents To Build The Kingdom

When you insist on doing it yourself because “it will get done faster and will be done the way I want it to be done”, then you are depriving others from fulfilling their God-given potential.  Ephesians 4:11,12 teaches that God chose some to be pastors, teachers, apostles, evangelists, and prophets “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”.  As a pastor/teacher, your job is to “prepare God’s people for works of service.”  Are you doing that?

4)   Prepare The Kids Ministry For The Future

As much as it may come as a shock to you, you most likely will not serve your current Kids Ministry and church forever.  God may call you elsewhere or circumstances may arise that cause you to have to leave.  It’s not something you can always plan for.  How sad would it be if you were to leave not having ever trained or prepared anyone to sustain the ministry in your absence.  What will your legacy be?

5)   To Follow Jesus’ Example

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, He didn’t venture out on his own.  He assembled a team of twelve men to be involved in ministry with Him.  When Jesus said, “Go into all the world…” during the great commission, He wasn’t just speaking to 500 random individuals.  He was speaking to a ministry team.  If Jesus needed a team, who are we to think we should do any different.

The opportunity to minister to children is one of the highest honors and pleasures one can experience.  It’s also one of the most challenging.  So, why would anyone want to take the “solo route” and try to be a Lone Ranger in Children’s Ministry?  It’s ludicrous.  Besides that – even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.  🙂

Kids Ministry Philosophy

changes in philosophy

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“What has been the biggest change in your Kids Ministry philosophy in the past 20 years?” – submitted by Jon Warneke of Polson, MT

It’s hard to believe I am even qualified to answer this question, since to do so means I would have actually had to BE IN Kids Ministry for nearly 20 years.  It’s true though – I am officially an OLD MAN!

I began my Kids Ministry life in 1992 as a sophomore in College serving at a local church.  I had NO idea what I was doing when it came to leading kids on their spiritual journey.  I started leading Kids Church with just a couple of volunteers.  I grew up putting on shows, acting, performing, etc.  I knew how to draw a crowd, so the entire Kids Ministry pretty well consisted of…ME doing MY thing.

It’s one of my biggest regrets.  I was having a great time.  I enjoyed singing, acting, teaching, and praying with the kids.  The problem is I spent a great deal of time running the Kid’s Ministry as a “one man show.”  I wondered why I couldn’t get people to volunteer in Kids Church.  It was because when they came, I never trained them and never let them flourish.

Sadly, I allowed my Children’s Ministry to become “personality-driven” instead of TEAM-driven.  Why did I do that?  Because I was convinced it was easier to just do it myself than to try to train someone else to do it.  And, that is true – in the short-term.  It takes a lot of work and commitment to train and build a team that is effective.  Sadly, my first decade of Kids Ministry wasn’t half of what it could have been if I had learned this lesson earlier.

Don’t try to do it alone.  There are many individuals that God is calling to work with kids in your church.  You have to pray for God to call them, receive them when they answer the call, and train them so they can be effective in that ministry.

Ten years ago, you could have walked into my Children’s Church service and I was on stage nearly the entire time.  Now, on any given week I’m on stage no more than 15% of the time, and many weeks I am NEVER on stage.

If you are trying to do the work of the ministry alone – shame on you.  Jesus needed a team to accomplish His goal, what makes you better than Him?  You are depriving people of the opportunity to serve out their God-given assignment to minister to the kids in your church and community.  Don’t be a superstar – build a team!

P.S.  Congratulations to Joseph Mater, the winner of our $200 drawing for my first post!

Here we go!

I have been asked the same question for several years, “When are you going to start blogging?”  I have always had a lot of different answers.  “I don’t have time.”  “It’s not my thing.”  “It’s a passing fad.”  All true thoughts, but not the real reasons.  Time to come clean.

The truth is, I have avoided getting into the BLOGosphere because:

1)  I didn’t think I had anything new to add.

There are already so many Kidmin bloggers out there like Sam Luce, Tony Kummer, Kenny Conley, Gina McClain, and others.  I wasn’t sure that ONE MORE VOICE was needed.  I respect and read what all of these Kidmin bloggers share on a weekly basis, and I wasn’t sure I had anything unique to add to the amazing stuff they were already sharing.

2)  I was afraid.

I have to admit, I thought things like “What if no one reads it?”  “What if it stinks?”  “What if I run out of things to say?”  I allowed all of these thoughts and feelings to keep me from stepping out into unknown territory.  Ever been there?

3)  I was procrastinating.

I was allowing myself to put off and postpone something that I really felt I should do.  I figured, “I will blog – SOME DAY.”  The problem is – as I was reminded by a recent movie quote – “SOME DAY is a code word for NEVER.”  We say “some day” because we never really intend to take the leap of faith and just DO IT.

So, that time is over.  I am now jumping in with both feet.  However, I am planning to do things a little differently.  I plan to use this blog not as a place to write about the things that I want to say – but, rather write about the things that YOU want to hear.

I have been blessed to be involved in Kids Ministry for nearly 20 years.  In that time, I have been blessed with many successes, and fallen on my face more times than I can count.  Through the highs and lows, mountains and valleys, successes and failures – I have learned many lessons.

I want to use this blog to answer questions from other fellow Kids Ministry leaders and volunteers.  I want you to submit questions about areas you are struggling with, are curious about, or need answers for.  EVERYTHING is open and fair game.

Each week, I will choose one question to answer here on the blog.  Be sure to subscribe and submit.  If your question is chosen, you will receive credit as well as a store credit to use in our High Voltage Kids Ministry web store.

So, thanks to all of you who encouraged me to do this.  Your prayers and support were felt and needed.  Here we go!  Let’s take this journey as a team – together!

– Brian Dollar

P.S.  The winner of the $200 coupon code will be announced in my very next post!  (sorry, the deadline to register and be eligible was midnight last night)