7 Checkpoints To Assess Your Children’s Ministry Volunteers
I have an immense amount of respect for Children’s Pastors. Of the many ways one can serve the church, Children’s Ministry Pastors are giving their lives away for a group that cannot tangibly give back. Kids Ministry mirrors Christ’s sacrificial grace. For example, children cannot understandhow much work you put in to preparing a lesson, and they might even cry though the whole thing! Yet Children’s Pastors keep returning each week with that lesson prepared. Why? Because Jesus laid the vision for us in the gospels when he said, “Let the little children come to me… because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Matt 19:14). Children matter.
Children’s Pastors want others in their church to catch the same vision that kids matter and have a heart for the Kingdom in this way. This is why it’s important to have a clear vision, purpose, and goal for your ministry. And it’s equally important to have excellent volunteers in place who have the same heart and vision.
We have blog posts about how to best equip your ministry with a security system or minister to those with special needs in your Kid’s Ministry, but today I want to focus on a topic that might be hard to broach: releasing, or “firing,” volunteers.
A few years ago, I was at a conference with some of the Vanderbloemen team, and I hopped in a Kids Ministry breakout session. The Children’s Pastor who spoke had great insights on leading and creating vision in your Kid’s Ministry. However, what has stuck with me was his speaking on the simple fact that not everyone should be in KidMin and that it’s ok to fire volunteers.
Not everyone is well-equipped to work in Children's Ministry, and that’s okay. Here are 7 checkpoints to help you assess if a volunteer should be moved, given a break, or fired.
Red Light / Green Light Volunteer Health Checklist
Green Light means the individual is a valuable and effective KidMin volunteer. Red Light means you may want to reconsider their volunteer position in your ministry. They may not have committed a “fireable” offense, but you know something is unhealthy and can pull them aside and see if they need to be moved, given a break, or release from their role.
Red Light: The volunteer can only see what’s wrong. They’ve lost clear vision and can only see and vocalize negativity.
Green Light: The volunteer is full on vision for the ministry and team. When Children’s Ministry volunteers clearly see the why behind what you do, they’re empowered to best serve your families.
Red Light: The volunteer is discouraging others and their team. This could include gossip, divisions, or heightened drama.
Green Light: The volunteer demonstrates the fruits of the spirit in relationship with others, and, if given constructive criticism, is humble and receives correction. At my church, we call these people Faithful, Available, and Teachable (FAT). Are your volunteers FAT?
Red Light: The volunteer is consistently unprepared for class. A releasable volunteer consistently hasn’t reviewed the content before class or is not ready to teach a message. They think “winging it” is an acceptable option each week.
Green Light: The volunteer champions their lesson with excellence.
Red Light: The volunteer consistently cancels at the last minute.
Green Light: The volunteer cares about the success of the ministry by planning ahead and letting you know dates they’ll be out. A really “green light” volunteer takes it a step further and finds their replacement for you (if that’s a part of your church culture).
5. Aptitude With Children And Parents
Red Light: The volunteer lacks professionalism in working with kids and parents. They demonstrate a lack of social awareness in knowing what’s an appropriate interaction and what is not.
Green Light: The volunteer consistently reacts in an age-appropriate manner with everyone they encounter (i.e. they calmly and appropriately console a crying toddler or kindly greet parents as they come to pick up their kids).
Red Light: The volunteer is more interested in social interaction than ministry interaction.
Green Light: The volunteer is able to set aside social goals and be fully present for the time they are working in the Kids Ministry. They know why they are doing what they do.
7. Safety And Security
Red Light: The volunteer takes security protocols lightly. This could range from letting someone who doesn’t have proper identification pick a child up from a classroom to repeating confidential information to others.
Green Light: The individual is invested in creating a safe environment for church families. They uphold the ministry guidelines and exercise wise judgment in these situations.
Letting volunteers go isn’t ideal, especially when they feel like a precious commodity. But I believe setting your ministry up with volunteers who have caught the vision will attract other high quality volunteers. Everyone wants to be a part of something that’s thriving and healthy. If you have clear vision, champion your volunteers with encouragement, and set them up for success, you won’t have many Red Light volunteers.
What are other attributes of Green Light volunteers?