Letting Volunteers Run Kid’s Church (You’ll Never Feel Ready)
Has your entire Kid’s Ministry ever been run by volunteers on a Sunday morning?
For you that might be a normal occurrence, but In the first 2 years at my current church it didn’t happen once.
There was always a reason to stay involved: I’m the best at handling guests, we have a volunteer who didn’t show, we don’t have anyone else to [blank], I need to get face time with kids and parents, what if an emergency happens and I’m not there to handle it, the buck stops with me so I want to be around, etc.
None of those reasons are necessarily bad or untrue, but someone shared Ephesians 4:11-12 with me: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” and I couldn’t shake that God wanted me to be more empowering with volunteers in our family ministry.
I also realized that I hadn’t heard my Senior Pastor preach live in over 2 years, or worship with other adults on a Sunday morning, or sit with my wife and enjoy a service without any responsibilities.
So I decided my biggest goal for the first 6 months of year was to have 2 out of our 8 (or 10 on 5 week months) Kids Services run without me, so I could attend the adult service twice, once for our early service and once for our late service.
And this past month for the first time in 2+ years I attended 2 services!
It was awesome, but also really difficult because I had to let go of my control issues and just trust that everything would turn out okay.
I didn’t feel ready, but I did it anyway, and everything turned out fine.
Here’s how I got to my goal:
First, I shared my goal and my why
I talked with my Senior Pastor and let him know what my goal was and why I had made it a goal.
He was very supportive and told me to go for it.
On the flip side, I’m sure there are many Senior Pastors who might not be supportive.
If that’s the case, and I know this is totally unhelpful, I’m not sure what to say.
After I talked with my Senior Pastor, I spoke with a couple of my highest capacity Kid’s leaders and let them know my goal and why.
They were supportive as well, but more importantly it gave them an opportunity to prepare for leading at an even higher level, so they weren’t blindsided by me just announcing one Sunday that they were leading.
Second, I started to give more things away.
Obviously if I’m going to not be part of running a service, there can’t be any gaping holes where I usually step in.
So I began talking with different volunteers and developing them to take over parts of what I usually did.
I asked one guy to start leading a Boy’s Small Group that I normally did.
I found someone new to host our Large Group Experience, so the previous Host could oversee and coordinate the entire service.
I made sure that we had enough volunteers scheduled so if one or two didn’t show up, we’d still be good.
Third, I stayed in the Kid’s services but slowly pulled back from doing anything.
Once all the pieces were in place, I stayed present to support volunteers who were taking on new roles.
I would observe and only intervene when asked by the volunteers.
I made sure that all our processes ran (even if less efficiently) without me being part of them.
And after the services I would give feedback to help volunteers fulfill their roles even better.
Fourth, I attended an adult service, even though I didn’t feel ready to release total control to volunteers.
This was the most important and hardest part.
And honestly these first 2 services away from the Kid’s Areas has been a struggle for me to stay present in the adult service.
But I knew that at some point I just had to release myself because if I waited until I was 100% ready, I would never do it.
Do you have any tips for Kid’s Ministry leaders about getting to a place where volunteers can completely lead a service? Leave a comment.
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