Imagine a world where your Small Group Leaders walk into their room on Sunday morning and everything they need for that morning is in one place. It’s all in a neatly organized box complete with unbroken crayons and a list of your children’s names, addresses and birthdates! Does this world really exist, or is it right up there with a winter without runny noses, or a time-change Sunday when all your volunteers show up—on time? Believe it or not this can be a part of your Sunday morning—it just takes recruiting the right people!

Chances are, you’re sitting on a gold mine of those “right people” right now and you’ve never even realized it! Some of these people haven’t even crossed your mind because they’re not always around on the weekends and if they are they’re a little afraid of two-year-olds (although they’d never admit it). Most likely, you have retired people, moms of preschoolers and homeschoolers in your church congregation. Each of these groups probably have a few hours during the week that they could donate to cutting out construction paper hearts, making copies of activity pages or even wiping down toddler tables. It’s a dirty job but somebody WANTS to do it!

Making the “ask” for weekday help is simple as long as you have a clear plan and vision for how they can be a part of your ministry. Be specific in your ask, people are more likely to help if they know exactly what they are getting into. There is a big difference between asking, “do you have time to get supplies ready for preschool for this Sunday?” and saying “I would love to share with you an opportunity to positively impact the lives of preschoolers.”

Be clear about what you’re asking them to commit to. Is the goal for them to have all the Small Group activity supplies ready for Sunday? If so, make sure you have clearly communicated what items are needed and what it should look like. A sample would be a great and helpful touch!

Appreciate them strategically. It goes back to the saying that “what gets rewarded gets repeated.” Part of your plan (should your budget allow) may be to set out donuts and coffee for them to enjoy while they work, or you may choose to spring for lunch. The more people feel that they are valued and appreciated for what they do, they will not only continue to pitch in but they’ll grow to enjoy it more as well. Whether it’s lunch or a handwritten note in the mail, let them know that you appreciate what they’re doing to connect with preschoolers and their families each week.

Once you put this all into place and it’s working you will experience new found freedom and time! Freedom to connect with volunteers on Sunday instead of hiding out in the supply room because Sunday came faster than you thought; and, time to connect with families. Your Small Group Leaders will also experience some new found freedoms as their typical Sunday supply shuffle has been replaced with valuable time spent hanging with some fun three-year-olds they didn’t know they had. Weekday volunteers. They’re a GREAT thing!