Volunteer Training

Six important components

by Mark Entzminger/ April 4, 2016

If there’s one thing every children’s ministry has in common, it’s the perpetual need for quality children’s workers. Leaders understand that the strength of a ministry relies on the abilities of the leaders who are on the front lines doing the ministry.

But, just for a moment, let’s imagine you had a line of people ready to work. Would you be ready to receive them? How would they know what to do?

The following tips are designed to help you create the systems needed whether you have one new volunteer a year or 100 sign up in a week.

1. Simplify First Steps: Taking leaders through a process of on-boarding can help them get up to speed very quickly or overwhelm them. Be sure the steps are clear and communicated in writing so they know when they are done or what is coming next.

2. Buddy System: Do everything possible to provide them with a couple of weeks (or longer depending on the person or position) to shadow someone who is filling that position right now. In some instances this may not be possible. In that case, be sure to communicate with them the expectations and support them with resources.

3. Keep a Visible List of Open Positions: My friend Scott Berkey keeps a whiteboard prominently placed in his office of every position needing to be filled. This is not only a good discipline to know exactly what needs to be filled, but it’s an easy way to bring a potential leader on board by showing them the board and asking which positions most align with their talents and passions.

4. Streamline Communications: Children’s workers often have busy and overwhelming lives outside of the responsibilities of the local church. Be sure to consider this when            communicating to them. If your messages do not appear to be getting read, it could be that the volume of communication from the church in general is overwhelming and the critical      communications are getting lost among the noise. This could be a church-wide problem that needs to be addressed.

5. Utilize Video Training: When possible, capture people who are doing ministry “right” on video to help explain to new workers what the standard is. Consider the following examples       of elements that can be contained in a training:

  • How to lead a small-group discussion
  • How to teach an object lesson
  • Leading games and activities
  • Introducing new worship songs

6. In-Person Meetings: When all other methods of communication have been optimized, find the elements that can only be communicated in person from the key leaders. These         are the items that should fill an agenda for training meetings.

Most workers in children’s ministry have not been professionally trained in the skill of teaching or working with children. As a result, the better your on-boarding and training is, the more confident and fulfilled each leader will be in their weekly service.