When it comes to recruiting and retaining ministry volunteers, we strive to find the best way to make sure everyone knows the opportunities available to serve. But sometimes it’s not what they know, but what they don’t know that hurts you. Along with these conversation guides, here are 4 things your volunteers may not know when it comes to leading kids.
Volunteers don’t know potential of what they will do.
When we have opportunities for ministry volunteers to serve, we often present them as needs.
“We need six small group leaders” or “We need two nursery attendants.”
Those requests for help simply convey the spaces that are currently unmanned in our ministry. No one dreams of one day being a space-holder. However, if we will share the vision, what can be accomplished if others will join the team, our opportunities take on a new dimension.
“Our preschool team is ready to launch a new level of ministry to our little ones and their families. We want to connect, support and equip families with resources and relationships as we grow and serve together.”
Help them see the potential to accomplish something significant if they will join the team.
One of the most consistent demonstrations of the potential impact a volunteer can make has been seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the most effective connections between the church and families during the shelter-in-place restrictions have been through volunteers. Ones who had already served consistently and developed a relationship with the children in their ministry.
Those relationships continued, despite the fact that they could not be together physically in one place. In a time when families may or may not engage in the activities the church offered, they still connected with the ministry volunteer through their child.
That’s real influence.
That’s the potential every volunteer has.
Help them see that when you invite them to the team.
Volunteers don’t know what to do.
“We need volunteers in our children’s ministry.”
But . . . what do volunteers do exactly? Provide a written job description. Tell them what you expect them to do in this position. Let them know how they will be trained, resourced, and times and location of serving.
Help them see how their unique gifts and talents fit into this opportunity and how they can take this and make it even better.
During a season of uncertainty, it is wise to let your volunteers know that changes are possible and good. Take the time to bring your new volunteers into the ministry setting, not just the position.
You can help them to know how they belong to the team and what the team goals are. Then, if changes are made shortly after new ministry volunteers come onboard, they’ll be able to see the reason for the shift. This way they feel part of the process, rather than being caught in a bait-and-switch situation.
Volunteers don’t know how long they have to serve.
No one wants to volunteer for eternity. As a result, they often don’t volunteer at all. Set a time frame for your volunteers from the beginning. Consider offering a 30 or 60-day trial period.
Let them know if it doesn’t turnout to be what they were expecting, after 30 or 60 days, they can let you know, and you can find them a different place to serve. (This also works well in case you, the leader. realize this isn’t a good fit. You can move a ministry volunteer to a different position.)
A yearly opportunity to step-down, or to reenlist, takes the guilt factor out of serving. This way, no one has to “quit” if they feel they are starting to stress or burnout. They simply don’t “re-sign” for the next year.
Volunteers don’t know if anyone cares.
Recruiting a ministry volunteer is much like adding a member to your family. You are now responsible for their care. We need to know our volunteers. If we merely plug them into an empty slot on a serving team and stop there, we are simply using them.
We need to pray, encourage, develop, and lead them. This happens through relationships – making sure each volunteer has a team leader who is connecting with them weekly. A person who knows what’s going on in their life and who will help them see the difference they’re making.
Those who are cared for and encouraged are much more likely to continue serving because they see the value in what they’re doing.
The more your potential volunteers know about the opportunities they have, the more likely they are to find a place where they are excited to serve. Then, the more excited they are to serve, the easier it is to recruit others to join the excitement. And the more excitement, the easier it is to retain the volunteers you have on the team.
Where to start?
Want to recruit great small group leaders but don’t know where to start? Learn how to identify and connect with potential volunteers with a free resource from Orange Kids and Lead Small. You’ll learn who to look for, know what to say, and recruit with confidence. Download the guides for FREE today.