What Children’s Ministers Wish Their Volunteers Would Do!
I have been a volunteer in children’s ministries for most of my life. It wasn’t until this past January that I became a volunteer after having been a full-time children’s minister. I have to admit, it was somewhat challenging but I welcomed the chance to do all the things I have been hoping my own volunteers would do for the last four years. How easily we forget the difficulties that volunteers have. This afternoon I met up with another volunteer who is considering joining me in teaching the 2nd & 3rd graders this school year. We had an excellent discussion and I was flattered by some of his comments. As a children’s minister turned volunteer I reflected on things that most children’s ministers wished volunteers knew. These are a few things that, though they try to communicate, often get lost in translation.
Full-Time Children’s Ministers Wish Volunteers Would:
- TRULY know how thankful they are. A banquet, thank-you note, or Sunday morning donuts don’t do it justice.
- Give them a boost from time to time. Its hard work. Period. Sadly, many parents hand off the spiritual upbringing of their kids to the church staff. Children’s ministers have to walk the tight-rope of wanting to meet a spiritual need while at the same time handing the responsibility back to the parents. Don’t forget to share your appreciation of them with the senior pastor!
- Take a break. My children’s minister friends may not want to admit this but they really do. If you are a FANTASTIC volunteer (if you are not on staff and have read this far, you qualify!) they want you for the long haul. Do yourself and the ministry a favor and let the Lord fill your cup to overflowing. The overflow is where our service ought to come from.
- Hype it up! Children’s ministry really is the most exciting ministry of the church. We have an incredible chance to shape kids when they are the most receptive! The ministers rely on volunteers to keep the momentum going and spread the excitement!
- Invite and mentor others. As a volunteer you are the best billboard for the ministry as well as the best way for newbies to receive on-the-spot equipping. Tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to sit in. Tell your children’s minister that you would be willing to be paired with someone to share the wealth of knowledge and experience you’ve gained while serving.
- Communicate with parents! This is a biggie. The parents might have more weekly interaction with you as their child’s teacher than with the children’s minister. You have the ability to get a pulse on the child’s home life, pass on ministry information to parents and give them cues to apply the lesson between Sundays better than anyone.
Children’s ministers really are standing on the shoulders of their volunteers. They don’t want to take this for granted. Every now and then as a volunteer you might feel that you are being asked to do too much. This might be the case. Or… it might be that you are the good and faithful servant who is being trusted with the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). This is an honor the master bestows on the ones that he trusts.
What are some things you’ve noticed your children’s minister really loves to see in their volunteers?