As discussed in part 1 of this blog series, I’m often asked by ministry leaders why they can’t just make parents in their ministry volunteer. I want to give you a few of my reasons why I would not want my three kiddos, Jadyn, Pierce and Blaze, attending a church that runs this way.
- Safety – I don’t know if you have a super budget or an insider track to free background checks. But, unless you do it is very likely that you have no way to check everyone serving in your ministry if you require every parent to serve. I know just to make copies for my children’s teachers in our public school I had the honor and privilege of paying $50 for fingerprints and a federal, state and local background check. And I wasn’t even going to have direct contact with the kids. I would love a world where the church was committed to keeping kids as safe as our schools. And wow, what if we kept them safer?! That would be the best!
- Heart Attitude – My best friend and I are a funny pair. I grew up serving in Kids Ministry and she had never been around a child until my daughter was born – and her own daughter came 6 months later. She was always willing to help me in when I was in full time Kids Ministry, but I tried to avoid her asking her to. And her husband…whom I adore… well, I wouldn’t let him near my ministry with a ten foot pole. He, thankfully, is a great dad to their ONLY child. But, other than that, he really doesn’t care for kids. His heart is not there. He has other ways that he serves the church and uses his gifts and God is glorified. But, his heart attitude about Kids Ministry is not my vision of a ministry that our kids deserve.
- The Unknown – You NEVER know what people are going through. Over my 20 years I can tell you stories that would shock some of you. But, trust me, just because two people made a baby that does not make them qualified to serve in your ministry. Especially those who don’t want to be there in the first place. I view the church for some as a heart hospital. It is where broken, messy, hurting people like me come to heal and find hope. AWESOME! And in this hospital some of those people are in triage, some are on iv fluids slowly recovering and some are about to get their chest cracked open and have a big-time heart transplant. I don’t think you want to be the person to pull them off the operating table and say, “Put this surgery on hold, because they have to take a turn serving with kids today.” That person needs to stay where they are– God is working on them. Life change is about to happen. They are about to be made whole, a new heart. But, now is not the time to pull them in to serve in our ministries. You never know who is secretly struggling with addiction, who abuses their spouse, who is the one being abused, who only came to church that day for their kids, who drops their child off because they are a single parent and heard that church was free childcare for an hour so they can rest,…the life stories go on and on. And if you have done ministry for any time at all, you have heard them. Don’t assume you know what goes on behind the closed doors of people’s lives. Yes, even those you think you know, in fact I dare say especially those you think you know.
Check part 3 of this blog series for my solutions for a better way to recruit volunteers.