At the first of every year, I began to fervently pray for volunteers. Whether they’ve signed on for a month or for six, most volunteers need and appreciate training.
I believe in hands-on training but you’ve got to teach too. Host regular training conferences for volunteers and inspire your team to minister to children effectively. Incorporate a few ideas into a casual lunch or offer a Saturday boot camp. Don’t forget to include some role-playing so volunteers will know how to deal with tough but common challenges.
1. Creativity exercises: When I first began serving, I attended a ministry conference that rocked my socks off! At this conference, we were divided into groups then given a basket of kitchen gadgets. Each group took a gadget and together, we had one minute to come up with a soul winning message that corresponded with the gadget. A garlic press became the Holy Spirit that presses out those small and big sins. A mallet demonstrated God’s power to destroy sin… the list goes on. It’s a great activity for teaching creativity.
2. Expanding their vision: Volunteers often limit themselves in ministry because they believe that unless they are teaching or leading worship, they have nothing to offer. Drill down into your volunteer’s lives and find their unique talents. Get to know them! Encourage them to use their talents in kids church. For example, one year we had a retired rodeo clown. One Sunday he demonstrated barreling. Another time, I was fortunate enough to have a volunteer who confessed that she loved to draw with chalk. We had a sidewalk chalk art show!
3. Teaching salvation: Empower your volunteers by teaching them the requirements for salvation. We rely on the “Romans Road” to salvation but you can pick which one you want to use. Whichever you choose, it’s important that they know.
4. Mentoring programs: For kids, I don’t hold a class, I mentor them. I may or may not tell them I’d like to mentor them but I do talk to their parents. My kid leaders attend special events with me and other volunteers. I say to them frequently, “Watch me.” I don’t put them on the spot, unless they’re ready. Mentoring kids is a good way to teach a new generation of kids’ ministry workers.