How to Attract & Keep High Capacity Volunteers
Do you ever operate in Kid’s Ministry with a high capacity volunteers shortage?
Do you ever operate in Kid’s Ministry with a volunteer shortage?
Or maybe you have the numbers, but no one seems to take initiative or show interest in taking on any leadership responsibilities?
The world of Kids Min can be difficult because volunteers are vital, but we can’t give them the usual incentives, like money, to motivate them.
The good news is that everything, especially among Christians (hopefully), isn’t about money.
There are other motivations like supporting a mission or a cause, and the Church has the best mission in the world.
Here’s how you can leverage that mission to attract and keep high capacity volunteers who thrive on being given leadership responsibility.
Define very specifically what it looks like to win at God’s mission in your unique setting.
First, you have to know what your mission is.
At the church I serve at, it’s the same mission as my Senior Leader only adapted to families.
The church-wide mission reads like this: Helping you passionately follow Jesus, inviting everyone you know to join us.
And the family mission reads like this: Helping your family passionately follow Jesus, inviting every family you know to join us.
If you don’t have a family mission, think about creating one because it’s the backbone of attracting and keeping great volunteers.
Second, use your mission to craft wins for each area of your church’s kid’s ministry environment.
We use phrases for each area because we find it most helpful to think in those terms.
Then we made a really simple visual which we put at the top of the weekly schedule, so it’s always in front of volunteers.
Here’s what it looks like:
This takes all the ambiguity out of what volunteers are trying to do in each of their roles, and it also defines how each role is vitally important.
If you’re in check-in, greeting parents, running security, interacting with kids before service starts, your job is to get the whole family excited to be at church.
If you’re part of the Large Group presentation, you use every opportunity you have to point to Small Groups and build anticipation.
If you’re part of Small Groups, you take every opportunity you can to make kids excited to engage with their parents.
When families are leaving, everything you do should be geared toward getting parents as excited as their kids to engage spiritually throughout the week.
If a volunteer has a question about what they’re supposed to be doing or how they fit in, you just point back to the wins and talk about how they fit in.
When high capacity volunteers know exactly what the goal is, they can win, and you want people who like to win because when you have enough people working toward the same wins, huge momentum forms.
But winning isn’t enough for the best volunteers; they also want ownership.
So the second thing you need to do to attract and keep high capacity volunteers is:
Give responsibility away to high capacity volunteers.
The best volunteers thrive when they’re given responsibility.
Often though we think the opposite; we think that if we give responsibility away, it will be too much and our volunteers will get burnt out and quit, but that isn’t the case.
Try this exercise: break all your environments and gatherings into their component parts.
At the church I serve at, on a Sunday morning it looks like this: Greeting, Security and Check-In, Large Group, Small Groups, Small Group Teams.
Once you have this list, you know what areas to give responsibility in.
Then continually keep an eye out for volunteers who would be awesome at leading one of those areas and give them the responsibility and resources to do it.
Then simply step back and be there as a supporter, not a micro-manager.
Here’s some examples of what roles could look like:
Greeting, Security and Check-In: Give responsibility to a volunteer to “float” among the volunteers who are part of that front end experience to see if the greeting team needs anything, or if security notices any issues, or if check-in has enough manpower, the computers are working, etc. Let them decide what action needs to be taken and do it.
Large Group: Give responsibility to a volunteer to go over the order of service with the large group team, coordinate who’s doing what, and make any last minute adjustments.
Small Groups: Give responsibility to a volunteer to gather all of the Small Group leaders together to go over the schedule, answer questions, fill holes, and support the Small Group leaders however they see fit.
Small Group leaders: Give each small group leader responsibility over the support team that will be in the room with them during Small Groups and delegate however they see fit.
At your church there may be other roles, but these are just a few examples of what giving responsibility looks like.
I want to reiterate that it’s very important that once you give the responsibility away; you allow those volunteers to solve their own issues, and only step in as a supporter when they take the initiative and come to you for help.
If a volunteer makes a mistake in judgment, wait until Monday to take action.
They need to know that you trust them.
How do you attract and keep high capacity volunteers at your church?
Leave a comment!
My heart is to help leaders do kid’s min better, so if this was helpful, please share.
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