People are busy! It is hard enough to get people to volunteer, so how can we ask them to serve every week? Weekends are busy with family commitments, or time to relax and sleep in. Volunteering weekly will be the most rewarding for volunteers but how can we get them to understand that?
When I think of volunteers, this is the picture that I have in my head. Volunteers are in different stages. Some are new, or come occasionally while others are the committed people that do the majority of the work. As I look at these circles, here are some thoughts on how to find kids ministry leaders:
Summer is a challenging time to find enough people to help in Kids Ministry. Many people take some well deserved time off so it can be difficult to put people on the schedule when it works best for them. I have found the most success when I let them choose their own dates. To do that, I use a Google Document. You can create a spreadsheet right in Google Docs that you can share with people. A Google Document allows you to share the info with everyone who has the link. The document is always up to date, and people can see what weeks have enough volunteers and what weeks still need help. It allows people to sign up for dates that work with their schedule.
Here’s what I do:
#1. Set up the document – Create a spreadsheet with all the rooms, dates & services. I create one document with separate tabs (sheets) on the bottom for each room.
#2. Share the document – You will need to edit the settings to “everyone can edit”.
#3. Email all your current volunteers – Send them the link to the document, and ask them to add their name to the dates/times that they would be available to help.
#4. Email all your parents – Summer is a great time to ask them to help for one or two Sundays. They are not signing up for an ongoing basis, but they are probably willing to help once or twice when they are around.
#5. Send reminders – Each week I send a reminder for people to sign up to help. I do this for about 4 weeks prior to the summer.
#6. Send more reminders – During the summer, I will email everyone who is scheduled for the following Sunday. I’ll send the reminder email on Mondays.
To see a sample of the Google Doc I use, click on this link.
If you lead a team of volunteers, this is a must read book for you. It’s loaded with 99 chapters that are all 1-2 pages each.
This blog post would be extremely long if I were to list all 99 topics, so I have chosen a few to highlight:
Teach Shoulder Tapping – if pastors are solely responsible for finding volunteers, growth will be limited.
If You Don’t Need a Volunteer, You’re in Trouble – Is your vision too small?
Quality Attracts Quality – If your team is known for quality, then those who value quality will be attracted to your team.
Master the Art of Celebration – Quality celebrations are key to good leadership.
You Grow at the Edges – New people reach new people.
You Can’t Steer a Parked Car – Forward direction and momentum are required to make good decisions about ministry effectiveness.
Helping High-Capacity People – Help them find the place where they will have the most effectiveness.
If you do not already have this book on your shelf, then add it to your list of books to purchase. You’ll be glad you did.
If you want to keep the volunteers that you have, here are some things that you should remember:
Communication – Volunteers want to be in the loop and know what is happening. Don’t spring surprises on them or forget about them when it comes to communication. Stay in touch with them on a regular basis.
Feedback – Ask volunteers what they think. Ask them how things are going in their room. Send out a mini survey to get feedback on specific questions. When you ask them their opinion it helps them to feel like they are valued on the team.
Make it personal – Doing ministry is about serving together. It’s not about getting a job done, it’s about connecting with people on the journey. Sure you may be working together to accomplish a task or a goal, but really the priority is about the relationship that you are building with them. When people see that you value them as a person more than what they do, they will feel cared for. By keeping teams of volunteers small (max 12 people per leader) then you can build relationships at a personal level.
What are you doing to help reduce volunteer turnover in your ministry?
When I went to visit Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, I saw this board in one of the offices. As people move through the process of becoming a volunteer, their name is moved along in the categories. (names are greyed out for privacy) It’s a great way to remember who you have connected with, where they are in the process and what is the next step for them. It even included details such as the date they got moved to that category or which service they will be serving in. If you are a visual learner, this method might be beneficial for you as you look for volunteers to join your team.