Encouraging Your Volunteers

The best encouragement is always done in person

by David Boyd/ November 8, 2016

Walking into the preschool I was just there to say hi, encourage the workers, and move on to the nursery department. You see, I learned that there is no better encouragement than to catch my children’s workers hard at their job and love them, brag on them, and bless them. Thus my normal routine was to make my rounds trying to encourage as many of the 200-plus children’s workers that I could. Catch them doing a good job.

Today was a bit different. I didn’t catch this teacher doing a good jobI caught her stressed, overwhelmed, and embarrassed. You see, one helper had called in sick and the other was running late. As I opened the door, I saw a look on her face that said, Can it get any worse? Now my pastor has to see this disorganized chaos.

About 24 preschoolers were running around the room while she was trying to get them to sit down, bring out her supplies, and greet the visitors.

I did the only thing a children’s leader could do; I dove in! Now I’m not a preschool expert, but I knew that anybody was better than nobody. I announced to the leader: “I’m here to tell a story. Do you mind?”

With relief in her voice, she said, “No, go ahead!” I chose the corner the farthest from the door, plopped onto the floor, called the kids near and proceeded to tell Bible stories to these kids. Soon 24 preschoolers were sitting in every conceivable place around me and on me. Why? Because I’m such an amazing storyteller? No, simply because I was someone new. Someone willing to pitch in.

For about 15 minutes I was telling stories and doing my best to bless these kids. The helper showed up, the teacher had pulled out her snacks and supplies, papers were at each table place, and with a wink and a nod I announced I better be moving on.

The best encouragement is always done in person. Making the rounds of your classrooms is a critical part of encouraging your leaders. Never be afraid to pitch in to make someone’s job easier. A written note or a small surprise candy gift are ways to show that you care about the person who is ministering.

Another fun idea is to quiz the kids on why they think their teacher is so cool. They will shout out that their teacher is nice, funny, loving, or smart. Or they will talk about the goodies that she brings or the live pet she brought to class. Either way, getting the kids to brag about their teachers in front of them is a great way to bless them.

Children’s ministry can be a lonely ministry. It is our job to make it less so. Love on those who are blessing the kids. Love on them the way Jesus would.