Retaining Church Volunteers
One of the hardest parts of being a Children’s Church Pastor is recruiting volunteers. There is a constant need to recruit and train new volunteers. We work so hard on our advertising and processing, but do we pay enough attention to keeping our current volunteers happy?
There are lots of things you can do to retain volunteers for years. One is to truly show appreciation for all of their hard work. Another thing we can do is to make sure the Sunday commitment isn’t complicated. We need to make it easier for our volunteers to do their job. We need to provide the appropriate space, needed supplies, and run interference for children needing discipline and parents wanting to complain. We want our volunteers to enjoy their experience each week.
The majority of the Kid’s Church volunteers at our church are parents and college students, without teaching degrees. Have you ever noticed how complicated children's church curriculum can be? I recently saw a lesson plan that was 20 pages long for one Sunday’s lesson. This is too much to ask a volunteer to sift through. I never took a class in writing curriculum for elementary aged students. I know that scope and sequence are important. I realize that having options for crafts and games are helpful. However, As a seasoned Children’s Pastor I also know that volunteers feel overwhelmed when you hand them a lesson plan that has 10 pages of information that they have to read, decipher, and plan. Therefore, I wrote a curriculum that has lesson plans on 3 pages or less. It does not offer multiple ideas for each point. It offers one.
We found that having a concise lesson plan made preparation more convenient for these kind volunteers to use. “Just tell me what to do,” they say. At our church we use a children's church curriculum that I wrote called Encountering Jesus. It is full of fun and movement. It is not boring, but it is also simple to follow and to-the-point. We encourage our volunteer teachers to follow the Holy Spirit and add whatever brilliant ideas they have to the lesson plan each week.
We trust our volunteers. We respect their need for time off during pregnancies and family vacations. We try to continually recruit new workers to make it easier for volunteers to take time off. We don't ask our volunteers to work more than one service per month. These simple gestures help our volunteers feel like they are a part of the larger team. Gifts are nice, but respect lasts a lot longer than a $10 gift certificate.
What does your church do to show appreciation to the kid's church volunteers?
If you are interested in our children's church curriculum, lesson plans, and other kids ministry resources, check out the Kidsministryteam store.