As I’ve built friendships with Kidmin leaders across the country and served in a few churches from coast to coast, it seems that all kids’ ministries have one thing in common: the need for more volunteers! There never seems to be enough leaders to fill classrooms or lead in kids’ church.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received when it comes to raising up volunteers is to “train someone to take your job.” That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul did across the Mediterranean world. He duplicated himself in others so they could lead and he could move on to the next person to raise up. With that in mind, here are five basic steps that will help you mentor and recruit volunteers.
Step 1: Mentorship Equals Training
Now you may find yourself in a place where you need five volunteers, but the best place to start is with one. It’s the multiplication principle! If you mentor one volunteer in a month, now you have two. The next month the both of you mentor two separate people, and in another month you now have three new volunteers after only two months. Do that process one more month and you’ll find you have seven volunteers and yourself.
Step 2: Volunteers Recruit Volunteers
You shouldn’t be the only one recruiting or mentoring volunteers. Encourage and challenge your current volunteers to get someone to join them on your volunteer team. (Obviously, you will need to screen and approve those being recruited, but an excited volunteer may be the best person to find others to join the team.)
Step 3: Develop a Shadow Day
Host a shadow day one Sunday and give a prize to the volunteer who recruits the most new volunteers in a three-month time frame. Make it fun!
Step 4: Coach Your Volunteers
Mentoring volunteers can look like raising up new volunteers, but it can also mean helping your current volunteer team to grow as leaders. Think of yourself as a coach. Coaches are famous for the pre-game pep talks. Maybe you add a three-minute pep talk with your volunteers to your Sunday morning or mid-week pre-service. Coach them on looking out for kids who seem left out. Challenge them to find three kids they can compliment. See which volunteer can connect with the most parents after service.
Step 5: Set Tangible Goals and Conduct Volunteer Rallies
When you give your volunteers tangible goals to hit every week, you raise the bar and encourage them to get better. Consider holding a volunteer rally where you focus on a yearly or monthly theme. This could be a time to just have fun with them and build a deeper personal relationship, or you could focus their attention on kids’ ministry-related goals.
Take One Step At a Time: Oftentimes we can feel overwhelmed with the thought of having fully staffed volunteer teams or making sure all our volunteers are hitting the mark we’ve set. If we take one step at a time or mentor one person at a time, our volunteer teams are sure to grow, and our volunteers will be fully equipped.