4 Essential Keys To Invite (Not Recruit) Volunteers Into Your Children’s Ministry
By: Marisol Rubio November 29, 2017
Many children’s pastors and directors agree on how difficult it is to attract and keep volunteers for their ministries. As a former children’s ministry volunteer director, I experienced these struggles regularly. While the perfect solution to this problem doesn’t exist, considering the importance of "quality over quantity" is a great start.
In our free webinar on How To Build & Grow A Stellar Children's Ministry, we talk about the importance of inviting your congregation to serve. Inviting your congregation to serve - as opposed to requiring them to do so - can make a big difference in retaining quality volunteers.
Below are four ways to invite and onboard new volunteers into your children’s ministry.
Whether from the pulpit, social media, or a seasonal campaign, the announcement of a need for new volunteers should cast vision and be appealing. If it's from the pulpit, your pastor should explain the importance of serving your children's ministry and describe in detail the kind of help that is needed.
If possible, show some visual aids (like a short video or a picture slideshow) to depict the kind of work being done in the kids’ space. It is also helpful to have an established volunteer, parent, or even a child talk about their experiences and invite others to join in as a volunteer.
2. Welcome Form
Once you bring in congregants who've signed up to help, send them a short form to fill out with basic information. Some great questions to ask are:
- How many Sundays a month can you serve?
- If you have multiple services, which service time/day do you prefer to serve at?
- Which age group do you prefer to serve with?
- Do you have any talents, skills, or training that you’d like to share with our ministry?
- What’s the best way to communicate with you: email, text or phone call?
The questions on your form will depend on your church and ministry size, but be mindful to keep this form short, concise and inviting. Requiring people to jump through hoops to serve once a week may turn them away.
That being said, one absolutely necessary hoop is the background check. We are all imperfect people, so it’s important that you consider what is acceptable and not acceptable for the safety of your children and your overall ministry.
Once you have your new volunteers' contact information, welcome form, and cleared background check, create a schedule according to their availability and preferred age group. Creating a rotation of volunteers throughout the month can help volunteers plan around their scheduled days and avoid burnout. Some people may be available more than once a month, but be mindful to not over-schedule them.
4. Welcoming Training
Once you've created a schedule, set up a few training dates during the next four Sundays for each of these new volunteers to attend once before their first day. These trainings should include:
- An overview of their monthly schedule and their point of contact
- An introduction of their designated children’s space and its leaders
- An overview of the expectations for that space/age group
- An introduction to experienced volunteers
- A walk through the rest of kids’ spaces
These initial trainings should be engaging. Creating an overwhelming and intense introduction can scare people away from volunteering. As soon as your new volunteers attend their initial trainings, have them start on their next scheduled day. Designate a more experienced volunteer on the same rotation in case they need to seek guidance. Make it a point to check in with them regularly for at least the first three months. This will ensure that they are looking forward to the experience and serving in the best possible way for your ministry.
Children's ministry volunteers give their time and talents to help your kids know and follow God, so they must serve out of love instead of obligation. Taking the time to invest in your volunteers’ interests, time, and happiness will be well worth it for your ministry.
How have you invited volunteers to serve on your team?