Welcome to the Kidmin1124.com Volunteer Champion of the Week. There are thousands and thousands of volunteers who turn out each weekend and selflessly serve children in churches around the globe. They do not do what they do for recognition or accolades, but at Kidmin1124 we would like to shine a light on some of these volunteers as a way to say “Thank You!” So, each week we recognize one volunteer from the world of kidmin who goes above and beyond in their service to God’s kids. Our hope is that this segment will provide some well deserved recognition to individual volunteers. More importantly though, we have asked these Volunteer Champions to share some of their insights and experiences with us so that we can all learn from their wisdom.
This week’s recipients, based on a nomination from TJ Sipes via Bill Gunter, is (drum roll please):
Here is some background information on Carol:
1. What is your full name?
2. Where do you live (city, state, country)?
3. What church do you attend and serve at (please feel free to include the web address of your church)?
Spring Hill Baptist Church, Waterford, MS
4. How long have you been involved in children’s ministry?
5. What position(s) do you volunteer at in your children’s ministry?
I am the Awana Commander and Children’s Program Director
6. Tell us about your family (spouse, kids, etc.)
My husband is Vic, who serves our church as the Minister of Music and is a Truth and Training Leader in our Awana Ministry. We have a daughter who is currently in her 2nd year at the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University in Birmingham, AL
We also asked Carol to share some thoughts and wisdom on some selected questions. Here is what she had to say:
How to say “No”. I can’t do it all and God doesn’t expect me to do everything.
2. How have the needs of children changed today compared to when you started?
When I started working with children the biggest discipline problems were talking in class, cutting places in line, running in the halls, chewing gum, etc. Now children are facing drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, bullying, suicide, rape, etc. They are assaulted from every direction and at every turn with divorced parents, technology, television, etc. We, the church, so many times are the only constant they feel they have.
3. What is the single greatest lesson God has taught you through your volunteering in children’s ministry?
“You have not because you ask not” – whether it is leading a child to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ or getting someone to join our ministry team.
4. What have you learned about leadership as a volunteer?
This spins off from my answer to question 1 above … God doesn’t expect me to do it all, but he does expect me to do no less than those I lead. I have learned to delegate. God has given me very talented and committed individuals to serve with as we minister to the kids He sends our way reaching each with the Gospel of Christ.
5. How did volunteering so much affect your own children and family (good and bad)?
Our whole family serves the Lord in our church. We are all active in Awana and in my husband’s music ministry and our daughter assists in the Youth ministry when she is home from school.
6. Tell me about a mistake you made while serving in children’s ministry and how it changed you?
I’m sure I have made many mistakes, but the one which changed my approach with parents and their children was when I assumed the parents of a child knew their child had learning challenges and went to talk to them about how things were working for their child in club so they could use those techniques for school, etc. This presumption was wrong. They didn’t have a clue. It turned out just fine because they had him tested and he is now able to make it in the “normal” world like everyone else. I never presume anything between a child and their parents now. I ask permission from the child to talk to their parents and have the child present when I do.
7. Can you think of a situation or a child that had a real impact on your own spiritual development?
I was the Sunday School teacher for the Jr. High and High School boys and girls. One Sunday as I was teaching I went under conviction because I was a sinner and NOT saved by grace when I had thought I had been saved since a small child. I couldn’t wait until the end of the morning worship service so I could walk the aisle and surrender my life publicly to the Lord Jesus Christ. The amazing thing to me was God called kids to Him in spite of my sinful state through the Sunday School class previously.
8. As a volunteer yourself, what advice would you give to a new or young children’s pastor who needs help learning to recruit or retain volunteers?
PRAY – PRAY – and then PRAY some more. God knows exactly who it is He wants to volunteer to serve Him through these ministries and He will reveal them to us through our times of prayer. He is always going the distance before us preparing the way and the minds of those He wants to serve if we are faithful enough to allow Him the choices.
9. Have you ever struggled in communicating with parents of the children you teach? Do you have a best practice to offer?
YES – even those parents who are members of our church. The best means of communication is one on one. When the numbers are too many for me to communicate with one on one, I delegate it to the directors, leaders, etc. Newsletters and emails are wonderful, but times are full of hectic schedules and they often times do not get read.
10. What is the biggest challenge you think kids face today? How can children’s ministry meet that need?
Back to my answer of question 2. We must be Christ’s hands and feet for them. They have to be able to see Him through us and our actions.
11. What do you do personally to achieve balance in your life?
I start with God. If I didn’t, everything else would just be a jumbled mess. Spending time with Him at the beginning of every day gets my day started on the right foot and returning to the Throne of Grace throughout the day makes the way much straighter and less burdened.
12. As a volunteer, what is one thing you wish that all children’s pastors knew about their volunteers?
Each person IN ministry is called by God to serve Him whether it is the pastor or the volunteer. God uses each of us for His glory, honor, and praise. It is a privilege to serve kids for our Lord and when we are called it is because God has a purpose for us to fill.
13. What is the most impactful book you have ever read in relation to your work in children’s ministry?
Of course the Bible is the most impactful book but next to it I would have to say “Rock Solid Volunteers” by Larry Fowler. Kids aren’t the only ones facing the problems of today – so do our volunteers and we have to be prepared to serve their best interests by bringing their focus back to why they are there – and of course it is JESUS.
14. Please share the “best” way you have ever shared the gospel with a group of children. What age group?
In Awana, we use the Gospel wheel to share the Gospel. I present it to the kids by sharing stories of my own life to fit each segment. My favorite way is using water and “Kitchen Bouquet” (to represent sin). It holds everyone’s attention as I am leading them through the Gospel Wheel.
To Children’s Pastors and Others who would like to nominate a volunteer for Kidmin1124 Volunteer Champion of the Week:
We need your help! We are looking for additional nominations for future Kidmin1124.com Volunteer Champion of Week recipients to keep this segment going. If you have a volunteer, or know of a volunteer, who really goes above and beyond, please e-mail their name, e-mail address and brief explanation of why you are nominating them (a sentence or so) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We need your help to make this series a success.
Prior Recipients of the Award:
Prior recipients of the Kidmin1124 Volunteer Champion the Week Award include:
- “Funny Man” Dan Lee-Archer [09/24/10]
- Steve Testerman [10/08/10]
- Pam Aikens [10/15/10]
- Kurtis Miller [10/22/10]
- Amy Kirby [10/29/10]
- Jennifer Longenecker [11/05/10]
- Jessica Lindsey [11/12/10]
- Julie Reising [11/26/10]
- John Langdon [12/03/10]
- Stuart Aldridge [01/14/11]
- Kathi Hand [01/21/11]
- Jenny Montgomery [01/28/11]
- Adam Farragut [02/04/11]
- Linda Martin [03/04/11]
- Amber Emmette [03/11/11]
- Joan Koon [03/18/11]
- Katie White [03/25/11]
- Chris Austell [04/01/11]
- Daniel Shum [04/08/11]
- Keele Fischel [04/15/11]