Learn this One Skill and You'll Become a Better Ministry Leader

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Child listening through a toy string phone.
Effective ministry leaders learn to listen carefully to their volunteers.

A couple of months ago I scheduled a time to meet with my Sunday morning elementary volunteers. Having become the director of preschool through elementary at this church last summer, I had been taking my time to observe what was taking place and look for ways to improve the ministries. After taking a bit of time to see how things were functioning and running in our elementary area, I decided it was time to meet with my volunteers to discuss Sunday mornings and get their feedback on this ministry. My goals for the meeting were to thank my volunteers by taking them to dinner, decide on a new curriculum, plan some new events, as well as see if they had any suggestions on how we could reach our kids and challenge them even more spiritually. The outcome of our night was quite productive and I realized how vital it is to listen to seasoned volunteers.
Getting to fellowship at dinner was a huge benefit of the night. On Sunday mornings my time is full of checking on volunteers, meeting new visitors, and being available to help where needed. I seldom get the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with my volunteers and never get to talk with them on the level I would like to. Actually sitting down to dinner with these volunteers allowed for me to talk with them and discuss whatโ€™s important to them. The dinner also gave me an opportunity to thank them for their hard work and spend time showing them how much I appreciate their daily effort in ministering to our children.
During dinner, I listened with paper and pen in hand as they shared their hearts and vision for our elementary children. I was blown away by their passion for our kids and the overflow of ideas they had to improve the elementary department. They quickly pointed out the issues they were having with the curriculum and described what they would love to have to work with for their lessons. My teachers also described that they wanted to challenge our kids on a deeper spiritual level and wanted to have curriculum that would reflect these goals. The ideas they had made selecting new curriculum so much easier and pinpointed for me a direction to take.
We also discussed new ideas to pursue, as well as new events to implement. They peppered me with new ideas on getting kids excited about giving to missions, easy events we could pull off, as well as new ideas on reformatting our Sunday morning program. By the end of our time together, I was blown away at how passionate they were about Christ and desiring to lead our children to Him. I walked away with pages of notes, as well as an excitement about my volunteers. In having an effective childrenโ€™s ministry, it is key to have volunteers who want to serve and desire to see their children come to know Christ and grow in their relationships with Him. I encourage you to get to know your volunteers and spend time investing in their lives. You may not be in a situation where you can take them all to dinner, or even want some of their input, but it is vital that you take an interest in them and show them that you are open to their ideas. Who knows, you may be surprised by their answers!

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