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The Ark was 2×2, Volunteer recruitment is 1×1

If you have been in children’s ministry for more than a month, you know the magic bullet that everyone is looking for – Recruiting more volunteers.

There doesn’t seem that a week goes by without hearing from those who work in children’s ministry from the nursery to 5th or 6th grade say the phrase: “We need more help!” Look around in the chat forms from to cmconnect and the list goes on, their filled with post after post on needing help, recruiting volunteers, and even in my coaching for Coaching we have great discussions on how does a children’s pastor get more volunteers?

Everyone is looking for that magic bullet, the one time fix all solution. It is like we want an Ark experience where God calls in the volunteers 2 by 2 and they fill our ministries. I have news for you, unfortunately it has never happened that way and most likely will not happen that way. Instead it is done by 1 person praying and asking 1 person to join.

Some suggestions to help the 1×1 time more enjoyable and potentially more fruitful could be:
1. Make praying for volunteers a priority.
2. Stay consistent in the asking. You must always be pursuing those who stand out to you as potential team members.
3. Make you ministry area a place that people would want to volunteer. Make it fun, relational, important, a ministry that cares more for the people than just filling a spot.
4. Train everyone well and don’t be known for just throwing people into this big black hole and to never be seen again.
5. Create a mentoring type program for all new volunteers. This will not even help the new volunteer in training but it helps to strengthen relationships which is a huge reason people stay.
6. Consistently find ways to make your current volunteers ministry as good as it can be. This is from ensuring they have all the proper resources they need, appreciation shown privately and publicly. Your current volunteers are walking billboards for how you will treat new volunteers. And believe me people are watching.
7. Keep the vision alive and loud.

This list is by no means a complete list. What else would you add?

Volunteer recruitment is fun

When you hear the words “Volunteer Recruitment” what does it do to you? Do you get chills down your spine? Does the hair stand up on the back of your neck? Do you get sick to your stomach? Out of all the great things we get to do in children’s ministry, recruiting volunteers is the most dreaded part. It doesn’t matter if the ministry is large or small, we all face the same hurdle: Finding enough people to run it successfully.

Having had the opportunity to oversee tons of vacation Bible schools, special programs, weekly ministries, and camps as well as hundreds of children per service, let me urge you to try network recruiting. This is getting your volunteers to recruit other volunteers who’ll recruit others, etc.

When looking for leaders to help recruit for your ministry, make sure these people have good skills in relating to others. Find people who are good at making friends, because most people will start with their friends when they recruit. This will also build relational ties in your children’s ministry teams, so your volunteers will feel connected to one another.

Make volunteer recruitment fun! When something is fun, everyone wants to be involved.

To read the rest of this click on over to Kidology Zones and look for the title of this blog post.

Are you a Cruise or a Dinghy Part 1

It never changes, the success of your ministry to kids (outside of anything supernatural that God would so choose to do) greatly depends on the strength of your team. So take the time to build the right team for yourself. Successful people want to be part of something successful, bigger than themselves and fun to be part of.

I see too often the children’s ministries who float around like a Dinghy being pulled by every new fad or loud complainer. They don’t have the team built to stand up against the waves or to sail in the big sea. So for survival purposes they stay attached to anything and everything they can to just survive. They are able to turn quickly though and not lose any passengers seeing that they have built themselves to only handle a couple volunteers anyway and those volunteers help out of friendship not because they are driven by the leader. They usually try to recruit through the bulletin with no real lasting results but it is easier and makes them feel good like they are doing their job of recruiting. Then if they happen to land someone they put them in with no thought and often find out later it is a wrong fit and feel they are stuck together in this already small dinghy going no where.

Then I see those children’s ministries who are like cruise ships sailing all over the seas. Handling the waves as they come and the people not really feeling the waves but having fun. They chart courses that people want to go with. They have a hiring process that they do not compromise because they understand the end result is much too important. The people working the cruise ship enjoy their job and had purposely pursued getting hired.

Some quick signs of being part of a Dinghy ministry:
1. You continue to place ads in the bulletin that use the word “need.”
2. You guilt people into serving.
3. You are using new volunteers for multiple tasks and burning them out where they don’t want to be part of any ministry again.
4. You are more concerned about filling holes than helping people find their sweet spot in ministry.
5. The only time you connect with parents is when you are asking them to serve.
6. As you walk down the hall people run away because you are the only one who recruits for new volunteers and seeing you that is what it usually means.
7. You throw a new volunteer into a classroom for the first time with forty 2-3 year olds…and one no one else but them.
8. You ask the Pastor to beg for volunteers for you from the pulpit.

Tomorrow I will share signs of being part of a Cruise Ship.

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