Is this your kidmin volunteer?

To be as effective as possible in your recruiting strategies it will pay to know who you are going after and who is most likely to answer your invite to joining you in ministry.

The question then we need to answer is who is the typical children’s ministry volunteer and what are they interested in? Answering this question will also allow you to prepare properly in answering the needs of those who volunteer. (Research taken from article by Eugene C. Roehlkepartain

-Most children’s volunteers (91 percent) are women.

-The average age for volunteers is 36.

-97 percent of children’s volunteers are “somewhat” or “very” enthused about working in children’s education.

-On average, volunteers spend 40 minutes preparing to teach a class.

-The average volunteer has worked with children for four years.

-The average children’s volunteer reads the Bible only once or twice a month when alone.

-The average children’s worker has some college education, and 47 percent have at least a college degree.

-Two-thirds of volunteers (68 percent) say faith is “very important” or “the most important” thing in their lives.

-Three-fourths of volunteers (77 percent) are married.

Search Institute asked 1,500 children’s workers what they’d be interested in learning more about from their church. Here are the percentages who say they’d be “interested” or “very interested” in each subject.

-Learning more about the Bible. 79% (interesting seeing the amount that people spend in reading the Bible alone. See above stat on this one as well).

-Learning more about creative and innovative approaches to Christian education. 66%

-Better Christian education planning in my church. 58%

-Learning more about faith development. 55%

-Getting more help on teaching techniques. 54%

-Finding better curriculum materials. 50%

-Learning more about my denomination’s theology, tradition and history. 50%

-Learning how to test my work as a Christian educator. 49%

-Learning more about moral education and development. 47%

Does this look like the typical volunteer in your ministry? What is different? How are you meeting or going to change the way you invest in volunteers due to understanding who your volunteer looks like now?

Seek N Spell app for children’s ministry

As with anyone who works with kids in any capacity, we are always on the look out for new gadgets, tools, and now we can add into that list – the world of ever-increasing apps. It is from this list of apps that I want to bring a new one to you called: Seek n Spell.

Seek ’n Spell uses your GPS to create a new type of game. The object is to gather virtual letters and create words. Seek ’n Spell is played gathering in a park or other large outdoor space, players then race one another around the field to capture up to 10 letter tiles at a time, which they use to create words. Coveted gold tiles will appear randomly on the field, earning players a doubled score when used in words. Points are earned based on the length of the words players spell, and the player with the most points when time runs out wins.

So what are you waiting for, gather some of your volunteers and go out for an afternoon of fun or gather volunteers and kids and make an afternoon of it. What a great way to develop team, fun, adventure and physical exercise to boot.

Volunteer recruitment the never statisfied topic

I have been in full time children’s ministry for years and there seems to be a couple topics that just never seem to be answered satisfactory for people. This topic even though there are books, blogs, conferences, networks, social media sites and so much more that write and discuss it in full and the all the while basically end up saying the same things, we just never seem to get enough.

The topic? Volunteer recruitment.

Here is a very quick over view of what seems to keep coming up being said on this topic minus the how to’s.

1. Pray
2. Prepare by creating ministry descriptions, creating the right culture to receive them in.
3. Create a process to train and equip the volunteers in all stages from being brand new to being veterans.
4. Invest in them, get to know them
5. Establish such a great environment and ways you already treat your current volunteers as they will be your walking billboards to new and potential volunteers.
6. Immerse them in your vision and mission. In order to do that, make sure you know what it is and it is in writing.
7. Set them up with those who can walk with them and model what you are looking for.
8. Establish lines of communication so they never feel alone, and have access to get answers promptly.
9. Be known as a ministry that gives the proper tools to those who volunteer.
10. Allow volunteers to minister where they are gifted in.
11. Ask people to volunteer after you have watched them, so they know you are paying attention.
12. Make sure the path to start volunteering in your ministry is as clear and free of hindrances as possible.
13. Train and set up the culture of all volunteers help recruit other volunteers
14. Look for volunteers everywhere and be ready to share with them how the ministry will help them and not just how they can help the ministry.

Ok, so there are just 14 broad strokes on what I have seen over all the years in children’s ministry on the topic of volunteer recruitment. I may have left a couple out but they may also be able to be clumped into the general ones I have listed here already.

So with only 14 general items, why do we still have trouble? Is it we want a magic bullet? An easy step that takes no working it? When can we move past this never satisfied topic. Is this topic showing us that we are treating the wrong thing because we are not solving it?

Share your thoughts and any other items I may have left off from my brief list.

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?

Children’s Pastor if you lead consider this…

The term of leader is so widely used and misunderstood. If you are a children’s pastor and have the title of “Children’s Pastor” or “Family Pastor” or whatever the leadership title is, then please consider the following.

You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader or someone else who determines if the leader is successful. If they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. To be successful you have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.

Too often I have seen people with the title of “leader” not really a leader. They are managers of bad situations at best. Even that management title will elude them over the long haul due to they won’t be able to manage effectively the chaos that they are the cause of due to ineffective leadership and management.

Some reasons why the ineffectiveness? They don’t grasp that different people need different styles of leadership. For example, a new volunteer requires more supervision than an experienced master teacher type volunteer. A person who lacks motivation requires a different approach than one with a high degree of motivation. You must know your people! To know your people you must create ways to get out and walk the halls, greet at the front of the church, rub elbows with those who come to your church not just in your children’s ministry. I know I can hear it now, “I can’t get out and do any of this because I have no volunteers to help so I can get out.”

A fundamental starting point is caring more for the people than you do a position they can fill. When they know this about you things will begin to change. Next, develop a good understanding of human nature, such as needs, emotions, and motivation. You must come to know your congregations be, know, and do attributes.

The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. In your congregations eyes, your leadership is everything you do that affects the organization’s goals and their well-being. Respected leaders concentrate on (U.S. Army, 1983):

* what they are [be] (such as beliefs and character)
* what they know (such as job, tasks, and human nature)
* what they do (such as implementing, motivating, and providing direction).

Lead on…

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