Archives For Volunteers

Volunteer Love Languages

Wendy Douglas —  December 1, 2010

Do you know the love languages of your volunteers? The series of books by Gary Chapman has applied the 5 Love Languages to marriage, children, teens, and God.

I believe that you can also apply them to your volunteers.

  • Words of Affirmation – An encouraging word is a powerful thing. Saying thank you on a regular basis and pointing out something done well are just two ways to speak to the heart of this volunteer.
  • Quality Time – Giving this volunteer your undivided attention and sharing a conversation will impact them greatly. Face time speaks volumes for them.
  • Receiving Gifts – For this volunteer it won’t matter the amount of money you spend. The gift means that you were thinking of them and that means more.
  • Acts of Service – This volunteer feels appreciated by the little things you do for them. It might be letting them leave while you straighten the room after service.
  • Physical Touch – A pat on the back literally makes this volunteer’s day. A handshake or hug in greeting starts their day off with a smile. High fives work as well.

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Question ManIt is easy for volunteers to complain about the people leading them and vice versa.  Lost in all of that though is the fact that, whether it is provided or not, there are certain things which you, as a volunteer, have a responsibility to seek out.  If your church and children’s ministry leadership is providing those things to you, that’s great!  If they are not, that doesn’t take you off the hook.  The following list is the things which you, as a volunteer, should seek out and make sure you have in your life in order to grow in your ministry to God’s kids.

1. Feedback: No matter what your role is in children’s ministry, you should find people to give you feedback.  If you are a large group teacher, invite the small group leaders and other volunteers in the room to give you feedback each week on your teaching.  If you are a small group leader, ask a student helper who sits at your table what you did well and what could be improved.  If you do worship for kids, ask the other adults in the room about the song choice and whether or not kids were engaged.  If you write your curriculum, ask your teachers how easy it is to teach.  What could be done better?  Self-evaluation is great, but it will only take you so far.  Feedback from others is an opportunity for your to continue to grow both in your giftings and your ministry.

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CMConnect logo If you don’t know who Michael Chanley is, you should!  In addition to having a wildly popular post here on Kidmin1124 about hacking into this site earlier this week, he is the founder and brainchild behind CMConnect (a growing community for collaboration of those who work in Children’s Ministry), the genius behind Imakidmin.com (a website to help take online relationships offline) and the editor of the wildly successful book Collaborate: Family + Church.  You can find Michael on twitter @MichaelChanley and @CmConnect.

So, why am I introducing the readers of Kidmin1124 to Michael?  Well, for a couple of reasons actually.  First, it is my intention to begin using Kidmin1124 to share resources which will be of particular benefit to volunteers in kidmin, and Michael’s sites definitely fit that bill.  If you don’t do anything else, make sure you join CMConnect.  It is the premiere site for people who love kidmin to engage with one another, learn from one another and network with others who understand your passion for children’s ministry.

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As volunteer leaders we often are cautioned not to bite off more than we can chew.  So the obvious answer is to let more people have a piece of the pie.  It’s easy to get caught up looking for the right person to step into major roles; a nursery director or a preschool teacher.  Rarely do we intentionally look for the smaller, less traditional roles.  For example, do you recruit for a nursery holiday decorator, an internet researcher or a preschool photographer? There isn’t a task that is so small that you can’t share it with someone else.  And, almost any gifting that a person has can be a blessing someway in children’s ministry.

Here are some reasons to share even slivers of the pie:

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Love & Ministry

Guest Writer —  September 1, 2010

Happily married for 7 years, Kelly and Amy Dolan live and volunteer in the suburbs of Chicago. They like to tweet (@KellyDolan, @adolan) and blog (iblogo.com, lemonlimekids.com) and enjoy lazy Friday nights together.

My husband Kelly and I met while working on staff at Willow Creek Church. It was a fairy tale match made in heaven: he noticed me teaching the children with all of my passion and talent, and immediately knew I was the one for him. Not really. We were set up on a blind date by a friend! But, either way, it worked out and almost seven years later – we’re happier than ever to be married.

For the first 5 years that Kelly and I knew each other, we worked in full time ministry together: he in student ministry and me in children’s ministry. And even though we didn’t work on the same team – our offices were just down the hall from each other, and we had plenty in common for the experience to be both great and at times, challenging.

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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Wendy Douglas —  August 24, 2010

Teens have an energy that is contagious and so often are overlooked as a volunteer resource in children’s ministry.

Reggie Joiner, in his book Think Orange, states that

Engaging a teenager in ministry is the best way to ensure a dynamic faith in God (that’s wonder), a personal identity in Christ (that’s discovery), and a responsive heart towards others (that’s passion).

Teens are looking for a place to serve and children’s ministry is a great way for them to get involved. Here are just a few potential service areas to consider: Continue Reading…

Why Kidmin1124?

Wayne Stocks —  August 18, 2010

Well, we’ve been up and running here at Kidmin 1124 for almost two months now.  We have been astonished and humbled by the response thus far.  We really do appreciate all of your kind words and the fact that you come back day after day to read the site.  It occurred to me today though, that I have never done a post to explain where the name for this site came from in the first place.  There’s a brief explanation over on the About page, but I thought it warranted a post as well.

Kidmin1124Logo300X250The Kidmin part it is easy.  All of us who contribute to Kidmin1124 are passionate about reaching kids for Christ.  We all either volunteer, or serve bi-vocationally, in children’s ministry.  If you asked any of us, we would tell you that children’s ministry is a vital part of our lives and our spiritual journeys.  So, why kidmin rather than children’s ministry – because it’s shorter and easier to remember.

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The end of June marked the end of my first year as leader of a bi-weekly team at Kids’ Zone, my church’s Sunday morning children’s program. It was my first experience in leading volunteers, and I had my doubts about my ability to handle this new challenge. After the first few weeks, I realized a few things. The first was that I was not the only one with doubts – my team also felt unsure about their abilities. The second was that their doubts were partly my fault. In my excitement over my new “job,” my efforts to “prove” myself, and my unfamiliarity with the people on my team, I’d started out by doing it all pretty much on my own. I ran games, led worship, taught the lesson, set up and cleaned up by myself. I’d done nothing to build up my team’s confidence or abilities, but let them believe that I was the only one who could minister to the kids. Big mistake.

So, I decided to change how we did things. We met together for lunch after church one Sunday and talked about a plan for the next series. We talked about what everyone enjoyed doing, hated doing, could do and couldn’t do. We brainstormed our activities, stories and games and divided up the responsibilities. What a difference this made! Over the rest of the year, I watched everyone become more confident in their role and abilities. Ministry to the kids began to flourish.

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VolunteeringAroundTheInternetI like reading. I really do, and part of that love of reading has transferred into a love for blogs – particularly for those related to children’s ministries.  For well over a year now, I have been compiling a monthly listing of blog articles for Dad in the Middle known as The Children’s Ministry Blog Patrol.  In that recurring post, I pull from the hundreds of blogs I follow to compile and categorize a list of the month’s best children’s ministry related posts.  One section of the The Children’s Ministry Blog Patrol each month is dedicated to articles for and about volunteers.  Even then, there are not generally that many posts in that area.  That is one of the reasons we decided to start Kidmin1124 in the first place.  I don’t intend to start a Volunteer Blog Patrol here on Kidmin1124, but there are occasionally articles related to volunteers that I thought would be useful to the readers of this blog.  Here are some great posts related to Volunteers and Volunteering which have been posted this summer (including May).

Posts from around the blogosphere

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Need or Vision

Barbara Graves —  July 27, 2010

When you recruit volunteers for you childern’s ministry, are you trying to fulfill a need or cast a vision? How do you make the most and best use of your time in recruiting? Barbara Graves explores thee issues, and more, in this Kidmin1124.com article.

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