Joan Koon is the Kidmin1124 Volunteer Champion of the Week

Wayne Stocks —  March 18, 2011

Volunteer ChampionWelcome 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 Darcy Stelzer, is (drum roll please):

Joan Koon

Here is some background information on Joan:

1. What is your full name?

Joan Koon

2. Where do you live (city, state, country)?

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

3. What church do you attend and serve at (please feel free to include the web address of your church)?

New Life Church, Gahanna, Ohio

4. How long have you been involved in children’s ministry?

14 yrs.

5. What position(s) do you volunteer at in your children’s ministry?

Preschool teacher,VBS, AWANA in my earlier years.

6. Tell us about your family (spouse, kids, etc.)

My husband is David, a loving, honest, hard working man. My oldest is Zach, who is 19, smart, and loves worshiping our God. Mitch is 16 and has such a gift for music and is gracious and kind. Shelby is 13 and full of life, always wanting people to be happy. My youngest is Alexandra, who is 9 and so compassionate to others. Betty Koon, my mother-in-law who lives with us, is precious and gives our household stability and patience.

We also asked Joan to share some thoughts and wisdom on some selected questions. Here is what she had to say:

1. What do you know today that you wish you knew when you first started working in children’s ministry?

When I started teaching, I thought it was me who was teaching them. As I have gotten older, I realize they teach me. They are pure and honest, and surely have the secret to how to enjoy this life God has given them.

2. How have the needs of children changed today compared to when you started?

I am not sure the needs have changed. From my limited capacity to really understand children(God has this covered perfectly), I think they still need attention, patience, love and for us to treat them with respect, with the understanding that we, as adults, are responsible, not just for our own children, but for all children we come in contact with. I think we adults have to make changes ourselves. Our TIME for them is important. I found as a teacher both in class and at home, without time, how am I going to get to know their personality, their likes and dislikes, and their God given gifts that I need to encourage pursuing.

3. What is the single greatest lesson God has taught you through your volunteering in children’s ministry?

I cannot teach without Him. He has to be the one who teaches. I am under qualified, where the word of God is concerned. These kids deserve the best, and He is the BEST. He has this awesome capacity, to take over the classroom, even when I am self absorbed.

4. What have you learned about leadership as a volunteer?

That you don’t have to be afraid to teach. I was in the beginning. You don’t have to have a teaching degree, just love for children, and faith only Jesus Christ can give you.

5. How did volunteering so much affect your own children and family (good and bad)?

Our children committed themselves to Christ Jesus as a result. If you’re exposed to the word of God a lot, and they have to be with, so are they.

6. Tell me about a mistake you made while serving in children’s ministry and how it changed you?

Even though I try not to remember the mistakes I have made, I know I have to, so I don’t make them again. This is where time comes into play and getting to know each child individually. One time there was a child who acted out more than usual, and I did not give her enough attention to find out that something was going on in her life that was really upsetting her. She became more withdrawn, and unhappy. I did talk with her parents and got involved closely with them. Changes were made both on my part and the parents. The child started to respond in a positive way then. I tried not to get angry at myself for waiting too long, because that does no good. This experience taught me to pay attention! No reason why a child should suffer longer.

7. Can you think of a situation or a child that had a real impact on your own spiritual development?

There have been several. The impact on my life as a result makes me cry. I love em’.

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?

Positive encouragement as many times as possible.

9. Have you ever struggled in communicating with parents of the children you teach? Do you have a best practice to offer?

Yes. Don’t let your frustration or concern override the purpose. To help the child. Also make time outside of church time to discuss options and strategies. The parents need to feel that they are in charge, not me. I ask for their help.

10. What is the biggest challenge you think kids face today? How can children’s ministry meet that need?

Too busy. Too much media. You name it, Satan is going to try to get them early.

I think we have a small window of time to impact these children. More volunteers, means more attention to each child. The volunteers will more than likely be the parents, who realize how much they love to teach and then get more involved with adult service and other children ministries. They become the examples to their own children.

11. What do you do personally to achieve balance in your life?

Read the word of God. Pray. (Not always in that order) Find time for myself alone to do this.

12. As a volunteer, what is one thing you wish that all children’s pastors knew about their volunteers?

We love them so much. We want what God wants for them. We will not give up or give in. We know God has the power and love to transform these children into everything He has planned for them. All for His glory not mine. That’s what I wish for.

A Word from the Editor

I would be remise if I didn’t take just a second to comment on “Ms. Joan” as she is known around our house.  We came to the church we currently serve at when my youngest daughter was three years old.  She was a shy girl, and she did not like being dropped off at church on Sunday morning.  When I say “didn’t like” it was full-on crocodile tears, “I want my Mommy,” “What are they doing to that child?” type separation issues.  Ms. Joan was an integral part of what got her past that phase and instilled in Lyndsey a love for going to church that exists to this day.  She still stops to say “Hi” to Ms. Joan whenever we see her now over five years later.  Ms. Joan is now the teacher in my youngest son room.  I have seen first hand the impact she has on the lives of young kids when it comes to their knowledge and love for God.  It is people like her that this award is designed for, and as a parent, I couldn’t be happier to see her receive this award.  Thank you Ms. Joan for all you do!

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 wayne@kidmin1124.com. 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:

Wayne Stocks

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Wayne is married to a wonderful woman and has four kids whom God uses to teach him on an almost daily basis. He is blessed to volunteer in a wonderful children's ministry at New Life Church Gahanna. He established Kidmin1124 for those who give their time to kids and feel passionately about children's ministry. When he isn't working on Kidmin1124, he maintains another blog at WayneStocks.com and contributes articles on a regular basis to Ministry-to-Children.com.