Archives For Leadership

A few years ago, a Children’s Ministry conference came to our home town. We knew it would be a great opportunity for our key staff to learn and to have a team-building day. Over the two-day conference, we would attend different breakout sessions, and then debrief over meals (or ice cream!)

As usual for conferences, we were overwhelmed with a plethora of ideas. We were excited to implement a few ideas immediately. But at the last breakout session I and a co-worker attended, the facilitator said something that rubbed us the wrong way. She said, “You need to manipulate your pastor into thinking your ideas are his ideas, so that you can get what you want.”

Why This Is Wrong?

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We would like to welcome Joey Espinosa to the Kidmin1124 team.  We are certain that you will find his contributions to be useful and illuminating.  Please take a second to welcome Joey by commenting on this article below.

I work in an after school program with two other people (all of us part-time) and a handful of volunteers. As with most ministries, we are highly dependent on our volunteers to have an impact on the children who come and who want to come.  In fact, we currently have a waiting list due to an insufficient amount of leaders.

Recently, in a discussion about volunteers in our program, someone told me that we need to treat all volunteers the same. According to this logic, because all volunteers give something, they are equally valuable, and should be given parallel responsibilities and privileges.

I disagree!

Volunteers do have equal value, but that’s because value is intrinsically from the God who created us and saved us.

But volunteers are also different. They have:

  • Different strengths,
  • Different levels of responsibility, and
  • Different rewards.

Therefore, they should not all be treated the same.

Different Strengths

Volunteers with unique skills, experiences, and passions should contribute in specific ways. The failure to recognize and act on this principle is one of the biggest mistakes a leader can make. It’s one way that I erred for years in ministry. I would see a need and then look for any warm body to fill it.

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IslandWhat is the most important thing when it comes to retaining a volunteer?  That is a question I have been asked a number of times and ones that I have discussed with innumerable people.  I believe that, in the end, the single greatest thing you can do to retain volunteers comes down to relationship.  Breaking that down a little bit further, I believe there are three components to relationship which are critical:

  1. The Volunteer’s Relationship with God
  2. Volunteers’ Relationships to One Another
  3. The Volunteer’s Relationship with the Kids in Your Ministry

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autonomyWelcome back to our series on things your volunteers want to know.  We are knee deep in issues your volunteers want you to know in the category of passion.  So far, we have covered:

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FireA few weeks ago, I started a new series called, “What Do Your Volunteers Want from You?”  The purpose of this series is to explore those things that your volunteers wish their leaders knew but may be unwilling to tell them.  A couple of weeks ago, we started the series with our first item from the Passion category called, “Your Volunteers Are Passionate About What They Do!”  Today, we will continue the series with our second thing your volunteers wish you knew in the category of Passion and that is:

#2 – Your Volunteers Want You To Use Their Passion

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A few weeks back, I posted a link to a great series from Jenny Funderburke on volunteers.  In that article I explained that, other than our writers here at Kidmin1124 (again, I am contractually obligated to say that :)),  I consistently learn more from her about volunteers than anyone other than Jim Wideman.  In a post earlier this week, Brother Jim came through again – this time with a list of seven things volunteers want from their leaders.  Those are:

  1. Vision
  2. Strength
  3. A Plan
  4. Excellence
  5. Communication
  6. A Move of God
  7. Active

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We have all heard, and believe, that ministry is all about relationships.  But in the typically over-crowded schedule of a volunteer, how do you build relationships with people who you get to spend very little time with.  If you can’t have leisurely lunches or afternoon coffee with each of your volunteers, how do you build that bond that allows you to speak into their life effectively?  A key element to building a great relationship can be found in simply becoming a great listener.

If you listen closely to the bits and pieces of conversations that you do get to have with your volunteers you will find that they can tell you quite a bit about themselves and their lives.  And that is what we need to know in order to have a relationship.  If we are going to pray effectively for our volunteers we need to know what is going on in their life.  The problem I have with this is that I listen, hear what they say, and then forget the details.  I don’t mean to, it’s just that there is so much information and communication going through my head, especially on a Sunday, that I just can’t remember everything.

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DucksSo many people who work in children’s ministry are not in either staff or volunteer leadership positions.  They are the ones who show up week-in and week-out, work directly with kids, run the tech booth, perform worship, and so so much more.  Oftentimes though, there people are not amongst the core leadership team for the children’s ministry as a whole.  Unfortunately, these people are sometimes forgotten when it comes to planning upcoming events, casting vision and communicating upcoming changes.

If you find yourself in such in a position, this article is for you.  I want to talk about eight very specific things you can do to lead from non-leadership position.

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