Kids with Special Needs Ministry – Recruiting Video

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Special Friends is the name of the ministry that we have at our church for a one-on-one buddy system for children with special needs.  This fall we have an increased number of children with special needs.  We want to do everything we can to help them learn in a way that works the best for them while they are in our Kids Program.  Their Special Friend connects with them & builds a relationship with them like no other volunteer in our Kids Ministry.  I love seeing the Special Friends Teams together!

We created a video to help raise awareness about our Special Friends Program at our church.  Hopefully people will realize the huge impact a Special Friend has on a child.  We are showing this video in our Sunday Morning service & then will share it on social media.  You can view the video we made here:

Whether you are creating a recruiting video for special needs or another ministry in your church, you should include the following:

  1.  Real people.  People want to hear about things that are actually happening in the lives of real people.  That’s why reality TV is so popular in our culture.
  2. Tell a story.  Tell about the challenges the person is facing & the impact the ministry is having on them.
  3. The difference.  Tell about the difference in their lives.  Without this ministry, this family’s life would be drastically different.
  4. Ask for help.  Once you tell the story, ask people to come and be a part of making a difference, so that more lives can be impacted.
  5. Next step.  Provide a way for people to respond.  A website, an email or a contact person.

With an Iphone and movie editing software, you can create a recruiting video that will tell the story of the ministry you want to highlight.

How Gru (from Dispicable Me) can teach your Small Group Leaders how to “OWN” their role instead of “RENT” it

despicable-me-GruGetting volunteers to “OWN” their ministry can sometimes be difficult.  Sue Miller & Adam Duckworth talk about this in one of the chapters in their book, “Not Normal” which can be found here:

Basically, it’s about caring more about what they do.  It’s about doing the best they can possibly do, for the maximum impact.

WingClips is a website that takes clips from movies, and categorizes them by theme.  This is helpful when looking for a video clip to illustrate a point.  On this website, there are two clips from “Despicable Me”.

Clip #1

Gru reads a bedtime story to the 3 girls who come to live with him.  He basically doesnt’ want to read it to them, but he agrees to read it, just to get them to stop bothering him.

Clip #2

Gru has had a change of heart.  The children have had an impact on him that he wasn’t expecting.  He has grown to love them.  This time he reads a bedtime story to them with a whole new attitude.  It’s a story that he wrote himself and shows how much his heart has changed towards them.

These two clips are a great illustration of the difference in the approach a Small Group Leader can choose to take.  One approach is basically doing the job to get it done.  The other shows what can happen when a leader takes the time to care for their kids.  Both the kids & the leader are changed.

Many thanks to one of my amazing volunteers on my kids ministry team who came up with this idea.  Way to go Anne!

Are Your Volunteers Going in Circles?

Concentric Circles for Volunteers

When I think of volunteers, this is the picture that I have in my head.  Volunteers are in different stages.  Some are new, or come occasionally while others are the committed people that do the majority of the work.  As I look at these circles, here are some thoughts:

1.  Always be recruiting to your outer circle.  Ask people to be helpers.  Ask them to help with admin work, or organizing stuff.  Ask them to help with shopping for supplies.  Ask them to help at special events.  Ask them to help as fill-ins or floaters.  Ask them to serve once a month.  When you find you have only a few leaders, and can’t think of anyone to ask to fill leadership roles, it is probably because you haven’t been recruiting to your outer circle on a regular basis.

2.  People need to spend time in the outer circles before moving towards the inner circle.  It gives you time to get to know them, and find out what they are passionate about or what they are gifted at doing.  It also gives them time to learn about your culture & what you value in your ministry.

3.  Help volunteers move towards the inner circle.  Help irregular volunteers become regular volunteers by providing opportunities that will fit their passions, gifts & availability.  Help regular volunteers become leaders by showing them how their influence can be multiplied as they lead a team of people.

4.  To help people move towards the inner circle, you will need to personally ask them.  Go for coffee with them, share your vision & help them see how the shift towards the middle will be a win/win for them & for the people they are serving.

5.  Spend time with your inner circle.  Encourage them & appreciate them.  Motivate them & challenge them.  Invest in them.  Take them to conferences & visit other churches to help them grow.  Remind them why we do what we do.

3 Weeks of Recruiting Ideas


Sometimes when it comes to recruiting volunteers, you need to think outside the box.  Bulletin announcements & mass emails are just not working.

That’s when you do a BIG Recruiting Event.  Here are some things that we did to make our Recruiting Event Successful:

1.  Make your events BIG!  You need to do things that will catch people’s attention and get them to notice you.

2.  Be visual!  Make a display & use media, posters or stuff to show people what you need.

3.  Show people that Kids Ministry is FUN!  Give them a taste of what you do in your program.

4.  Do more than one Sunday.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Families do not necessarily come to church every week so you need to have your BIG recruiting event take place over multiple Sundays.

5.  Be prepared with sign up sheets, applications & police check forms.  Get people’s contact info (email) so that you can connect with them.  Don’t leave it up to them to connect with you.  They probably won’t.

We did 3 Sundays and this is what we did:

Week 1: (yes, all of this happened during the Sunday morning)

  • Video Announcement on the big screens in the main auditorium during the service.
  • Bulletin announcement – casting vision about what a difference volunteers make in the lives of kids
  • Flyer in the bulletin
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)
  • TV with power point presentation running.  These slides included volunteers in action & titles of positions where we needed help
  • Music.  It’s gotta be upbeat & fun.  We played the instrumental version of the LEGO movie.  Everything was awesome!
  • BUBBLE MACHINE (see picture below) – this definitely caught people’s attention and created an element of fun.  It attracted a crowd of kids who wanted to catch the bubbles & the adults had to walk through the tornado of bubbles on their way out after the service.

Week 2:

  • Kids wearing posterboards with signs.  (see picture below) 5 kids walked around places that were populated with people with sandwich board signs on their front & back.  Many people commented on how effective these were.
  • Power Puppet (we purchased this from Little Mountain Productions).  We only bring this out for special occasions and this was one of them.  The puppet basically said things like, “we need your help”  “sign up today to help with the kids”.  You can see a video of this in action here:
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Week 3:

  • Kids wearing sandwich signs again.  Once again, very effective.
  • Dance Party – we had flashing colourful lights & a projector with Kids Worship DVDs.  I will admit this wasn’t as big of a WOW factor as we were hoping, as our atrium has a lot of windows and it was a beautiful sunny day.  Dance party lights & projectors work much better in a darker room.  FYI.  However, we played the DVD on a large screen TV, cranked the volume, and people noticed the great music so that helped to catch their attention.
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Here are some pictures that we took of our Big Recruiting Event over 3 weeks

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DIY Volunteer Board


I am always on the look out for new ways to remind my volunteers how thankful we are for each of them.  Recently, I created this board to help encourage them & celebrate the wins.  It includes the following:

  • a spot to post a notice about the free giveaway for that day
  • 3 spots to share success stories & thank you messages
  • photo wall – volunteers love to see other volunteers in action
  • a spot to post volunteer quotes & Bible verses
  • a spot for announcements or special messages


I picked up the denim themed stuff from Michaels for 50% off.
The background fabric was from a fabric store.


I keep a file of success stories & thank you’s that I can pull from to post on the wall.


I take pictures with my phone almost every week of volunteers in action so that I have lots to chose from.
Printing them on the photocopier & cutting them to look like Polaroids are oh so cute!
Tiny clothes pins are also from Michaels.


I created these chalkboard drawings by downloading free fonts & chalkboard graphics.  Check out Pinterest for ideas.


I bought the hanging chalkboards from the dollar store.




Look for people in your church who can donate things to give to your volunteers.
It helps keep the cost down of saying thank you.

Family Event – Lego Party


Four times a year we do an event that is meant for families to do something together.

Gingerbread Party – to kick off the Christmas Season
Princess Party – in the winter
Family BBQ – during our EPIC kids summer camp week
Lego Party – in the spring

Here are some pictures of our Lego Party and what we did.

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  • I had someone build this lego wall using a 4×8 sheet of wood & 15 base plates.
  • I found some lego masks online that kids could cut out & put on.
  • We had a photobooth where people could take their family photo.
  • Lego Coloring Pages for those who like to sit and color.
  • Yummy treats are always very popular.
  • I made Rice Krispie squares and added food coloring.  Then I put Smarties to match on top while they were still warm.  We cut them in rectangles and they looked like lego blocks.  (Smarties are only available in Canada).  Don’t worry, we had healthy snack options available too!
  • Families could pre-order a lego kit (I gave them a choice from 6 different kits that I ordered and they paid for) or they could bring their own lego kit.
  • Then together, they built their lego kit.
  • We had some blocks that they could build with at an activity center.
  • We had a bouncy castle so they could burn off some energy.
  • Our Indoor Playground was open for kids to play on.
  • Our Lego Decor was made from styrofoam blocks & styrofoam circles.  We painted them with regular wall paint.

We had 350 people come to this event.  It was a great opportunity for families to spend time together.  It was also a great opportunity for people to invite their non-church friends to come to visit our church.




How I use Evernote in Kids Ministry

Kids ministry is full of a zillion details, and Evernote is a great way to keep everything organized and easily accessible. What I like about Evernote is, it syncs with all my devices. When I am working on my computer in my office, I can make notes on things that I can access later on my iPhone, and vice versa. Here are some of the ways that I use Evernote.

Sunday Morning Notes – I connect with a lot of people on Sunday, and often my conversations require an action step. Writing a note on Sunday and tagging it “follow up” allows me to follow through with the details that I said that I would do. I carry my phone with me on Sundays, so it’s easy to make a note in Evernote using my phone. Then on Monday morning, I check my follow up note, and cross off things as I get them done.

Recruiting – I make a note for each person that I connect with about volunteering in Kids Ministry. I add to the notes as they complete various steps in the screening process, such as completed interview, completed police check. This helps me remember who still needs what when it comes to their on-boarding process.

Meeting new people – When I meet new people, I make a note in Evernote to remember their name, and something about them. Depending on the situation, I might even ask someone if I can take their picture, so that I can study the info and remember a face with a name. This was particularly helpful at our family dedication class. I met many new parents, and took their picture, so that I would remember their name at the family dedication event.

Receipts – If I want to get reimbursed for things I purchase for the church, I need to hand in a receipt. Sometimes I purchase something online, and I’m not near a printer to print the receipt. Keeping a list of receipts helps me to remember what I need to hand in at the end of each month.  You could also take a picture of your receipts, and keep them in a notebook.

Business Cards – People give me their business cards, and I can never really remember where I put them.  I scan the card with Evernote, and can always find the info when I need it.

To Do Lists – Writing everything down helps me keep track of what I need to do, and stay focused on it.  In the office or on the go, my list will sync with my devices, so it is always current.

Scripture Verses – Keep track of your personal Bible reading, or verses that are important to you.

New Ideas – I love to visit other churches & learn from their kids ministry.  Taking a picture of things, or writing down a few words in a note of the things I see helps me keep all the ideas in one place, and I can easily refer to them when I am ready to try something new.

Collecting Research or Information – I love to keep learning about leadership, kids ministry (and Disney).  As I search the internet, I can clip ideas or pages using the Web Clipper, and refer to those later on.  Articles, books, or blog posts can be saved in one notebook and organized together.

I’m sure there are many other uses for Evernote, but these are the ones that I use the most.
If you don’t have Evernote, it can be downloaded for Free!  You can find it at