As promised last week, today I am beginning a series based on a presentation I did at this year’s CM Telesummit called “What Your Volunteers Want You to Know!” In this presentation, I examined 27 things that your volunteers want you to know but that they might be unwilling to tell you. Some of this series will come directly from my presentation, other parts will be me further reflecting on what I already said. Today, though I wanted to take just a couple of minutes to introduce the series.
Who Is This Series For?
This series is for anyone who leads volunteers. Whether you lead from a staff position at a church, or as a volunteer yourself, the whole point of this series is to let you have a glance inside the minds and hearts of your volunteers. I am not an expert, but as a volunteers myself, these are some things I’ve seen that volunteers wish their leaders knew.
Who Is This Series About?
The way I see it, there are basically two different types of volunteers when it comes to children’s ministry.
There are people who volunteer in your children’s ministries who serve the role of “warm body.” These are people who were told part of there Christian walk should involve serving and they happened to notice that there was an opening in children’s ministry that week. So, they signed up. To these volunteers, their role is just another thing they signed up to do, a commitment that they need to and intend to fulfill, but that’s about it. It’s not that they don’t love the kids in your children’s ministry. It’s not that they don’t want to help, but they are not passionate about children’s ministry or even leading kids to Christ for that matter. They don’t give a lot of thought or time to children’s ministry outside of the 60 or 90 minutes they serve each weekend. They don’t spend hours thinking and praying about the kids in your ministry though they may be quite fond of them. This series is not specifically intended for those volunteers though some of what I am going to write about, if done effectively, might move them from this group to the group that I do want to address.
The second group is what I would call “Passionate Volunteers.” They aren’t volunteering simply to fill a need (even if that’s the way they started), or because they like you, or just to have something to do on the weekends. These people serve in children’s ministry because they know that serving there is exactly what God wants them to do. The word “called” is often overused and trivialized in Christian circles today, but the fact of the matter is that these people feel called to do children’s ministry. It is part of their walk with God. They spend countless hours preparing for the weekend. They think about and pray for the kids they minister to during the week. They read books and go to conferences to help them serve God’s kids better. They look for ways to make the children’s ministry better and more effective. These are passionate volunteers who give freely of their time, not out of obligation but out of conviction and love for God. This is the group of volunteers I want to talk to you about today. I want to help you get into their minds and into their hearts to learn how to better utilize them, better love them and better serve them. And, in doing so, how to make your children’s ministry more vibrant, more durable and more effective for the cause of Christ.
Why Is This Series Important?
Volunteer issues are prevalent in most children’s ministries. From recruiting to training to equipping to retaining to firing, volunteers and volunteer issues occupy much of the time and thought of those who lead children’s ministries around the globe. The key to so many of these issues when it comes to dealing with volunteers can be summed up in one word – RELATIONSHIPS! You have to work at fostering a relationship with your volunteers. In preparing my original presentation, I talked to numerous children’s pastors to get their input about what they want from their volunteers. Almost without fail, every single one of the children’s pastors I spoke with said one thing, “I wish my volunteers would talk to me.” That’s what this series is all about and why it is important to you. I hope, in understanding what your volunteers want, that you will be better equipped to lead them and better equipped to build your children’s ministry.
How is This Series Organized?
When I realized that I had 27 items on my list, my first thought was, “Wow, you’re long winded Wayne!” But, my second thought was, “There must be some categories that these items can fit into.” As I looked at all 27 items, I realized that they did fit broadly into five categories. Those are:
I hope that you will stay with us throughout this entire series, and more importantly, give your feedback and input in the comments section on each post!