5 Essentials for Your Volunteers . . . #2 A Listening Ear!

Lynda Freeman —  March 20, 2012

I’ve been writing about the Top 5 Essentials for our Volunteers . . . #5 – provide resources, #4 – provide training and #3 – thank and encourage your volunteers. Last week I said, “When someone volunteers to give of themselves and their time to serve in your children’s ministry, they are giving something truly precious. When you thank and encourage them you are showing you understand the value of what they offer, you sincerely appreciate what they offer and most importantly, you sincerely appreciate them!” and then I gave a couple things to keep in mind and nine ideas for thanking your volunteers! Today I’m going to look at #2 – give your volunteers a listening ear!

We all have busy lives with stress, sometimes we just need someone who will listen. If we are too busy to stop and listen to the concerns and cares of our volunteers, then we are too busy. Be sure your volunteers know they can come to you if they need a listening ear and then listen and pray with them. One word of caution; be certain when you give a listening ear, you are not a party to gossip. If a volunteer begins to gossip, stop them. Encourage them to go to the person they are talking about to try and work things out. Do NOT allow giving a listening ear to become a vehicle for gossip. But, if your volunteer is not gossiping and just needs someone to listen, be that person.

In addition, be sure to be a person who not only listens when a volunteer shares their struggles and cares, but one who asks regularly how your volunteers are doing and who asks for prayer requests. Don’t just tell a volunteer you are praying for them, ask them if they have any specific things you could pray about for them. When a volunteer shares a prayer request, stop whatever you are doing and take a moment to pray with and for them right then and there.

A listening ear is one of the most precious things you can give your volunteer . . . it communicates better than words, you really do care! In my next post I’ll share the #1 essential thing you can give your volunteers . . . prayer!

Lynda Freeman

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Lynda has been married to Dave for 30 years . . . they met on a volcano in Northern California! Lynda took one look at Dave and thought, “We will get married!” And so they did! They have two grown children, Tiffany (26) and Dave (25), a daughter-in-law, Jackie (26) and two grandsons; Josiah (3) and the newly arrived Caleb – they are the delight of her life! Lynda lives in West Michigan and has served in children’s ministry for 40 years . . . she started with a Wednesday night class for four year olds when she was 10 . . . and has led ministries in churches with 100 people, 1600 people and several in-between. Children’s ministry is the passion of Lynda’s heart – she wants volunteers to love serving and children to love being there so they can learn to know and walk with Jesus all their lives! Lynda worked as a consultant for Gospel Light, Group and Zonderkidz/Big Idea/Willow Creek and worked as the Church Resource Consultant for Kregel Bookstores for 13 years providing training and answering questions for churches throughout West Michigan. She has written for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Your Church Magazine, wrote some of the preschool lessons for Big Idea’s VeggieConnections curriculum, was a contributing author for Group’s Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry and wrote the Connections to Christ portion of the Manners that Matter curriculum from Maralee McKee. Eight years ago Lynda was diagnosed with MS, Lupus and a few other auto-immune illnesses and can no longer work “hands-on” with children . . . the stairs at her church are best avoided. However, Lynda consults with and advises her church and writes their curriculum, kidz Connection. She also writes a blog – About the Children’s Department - and is developing a series of children’s books and a resource on praying the Scripture! For fun, Lynda writes a blog for grandmas- grandma’s cookie jar (www.grandmascookiejar.net ) . . . well, grandpas, moms and dads are welcome to read it, too! You will find her on Twitter, Facebook and CM Connect .

2 responses to 5 Essentials for Your Volunteers . . . #2 A Listening Ear!

  1. That is really good. People first and I remember we need everyone’s gifts and talents. Awesome post.

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