Book Review: The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams

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This book has moved into the position of “Top 5 Must Have” books for Kids Ministry.  It is LOADED with information.

My friend Dale Hudson is the author of this amazing book.  This guy has tons of Kids Ministry Experience and really knows his stuff when it comes to kids, volunteers, recruiting, training and motivating.  His blog is loaded with resources and ideas on many different kids ministry related topics.  He has a humble spirit and an amazing servant’s heart.  I have visited the church many times where he was on staff as the Kids Ministry Director and my kids loved being in the kids program there.  He is an international conference speaker and trainer, and I have learned so much from this guy and his experience.  He is the author of several kids ministry books, and his most recent, The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams is one of my favourites.

Recruiting, training and motivating kids ministry volunteers is top priority when it comes to kids ministry.  The job is never complete.  New people come and go and we are always challenging our volunteers to go to a new level.  In his book, Dale talks about proven methods that work when it comes to recruiting volunteers.  He reminds us that people are drawn to vision, not desperation.  He walks us through a process to train volunteers, and to encourage them while they are serving so that they want to stay.  In this book, Dale gives practical ideas.  I like books that give you a how-to formula, and this book does just that!

Here are some of my favourite quotes from his book:

“The journey of ___ volunteers begins with one ask.”

“As a leader, your role is to be a coach to your volunteers.  As their coach, you are to develop them, bring out the best in them, empower them and release them to do ministry.”

“Invite to the WHY over the WHAT”

“How long people serve is in direct correlation to the depth of the relationships that they form with the people they serve with.”

“Encourage is how you keep volunteers motivated and excited about serving.”

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I wrote notes, highlighted and flagged great stuff throughout this book!  I pull it off my shelf regularly and have made a to do list from the things that I have learned in this book that will help take kids ministry at our church to the next level.  It has given me ideas for recruiting, training and keeping volunteers.  I have ordered this book and given a copy to each of my kids ministry staff and volunteer leaders.

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Dale has written other books which include:

If Disney Ran Your Children’s Ministry

Turbocharged!: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry

Turbocharged!: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Preschool Ministry

I am not being paid to endorse this book, so you know that it’s really good if I am not benefiting from telling you about it.  However, it will benefit you and your kids ministry if you order his book today!

 

 

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Room for Kids with Special Needs @ Woodstock City Church

On a recent visit to Woodstock City Church in Atlanta, I was able to get a behind the scenes tour of their room for kids with special needs.  The staff person in the room was super helpful and explained how their program works.  Here are some pics from my visit to their campus.

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The room was clean and organized.  They had several areas for different activities.

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Just like all of their other rooms, they displayed their key words and vision statements for elementary kids.  They displayed crafts and pictures that kids in that room made.

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The variety of textures and seating options helped to include all kids so they could learn in a way that worked for them.  Pictures and words displayed the morning routine to help kids know what to expect.

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They provided areas for kids to socialize in a group or be in a space with less interaction.

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What I loved most about this room was that they still focused on teaching the kids a Bible lesson.  They worked with each child to teach them in a way that worked for them.  They wanted kids to know how much God loves them, and that they were welcome in that space.  This space communicated that someone took time to create a space for kids to learn in a way that works best for them.  When kids with special needs come to Woodstock City Church they try to incorporate them in the elementary classes.  If a child would prefer to be in a room with fewer people, then families have the option to chose this room where they would be more comfortable.  They had another room in their student ministries area as well.  It was great to see that they included all kids even as they got older.

Small Group Bins – an inside look at the bins that Woodstock City Church uses for their Elementary Kids

On a recent visit to Woodstock City Church in Atlanta, I studied what they use for Small Groups. These bins can be found at IKEA, but at the time of this post, they are also available at Michaels.

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What I love about these carts, is that they have enough space to hold everything a Small Group Leader needs to do small group time effectively.  Here’s what’s included:

Top Level – Clipboards – Every child can write without sitting at a table.

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Middle Level – Writing supplies etc. – In this space you could put any supplies needed for that day’s activities.

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Lower Level – Bibles – Kid friendly and age appropriate Bibles are available for kids to learn to use while in Small Group Time.

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Small Group Leader Name Plate – What a super idea!  Each name plate was laminated with a magnet on the back.  This allowed the name plates to be changed out as needed for each service.

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Extra Name Plates were kept on the side of the metal storage bin listed by service time.

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Ideas for Extra Time – How convenient!  A list of activities for small group leaders to do with their group of kids if they have extra time.  This is super smart!

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Most of the Small Group Leaders are high school students.  They used the opportunity to advertise an event for high school students right on the bin.  Another smart idea!

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I loved how this small group leader was all set up and ready to go before the kids arrived for the service.  This communicates that the small group leader is expecting their kids to arrive, and is ready for them!

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Here’s a pic of their Small Group Carts all ready to go!

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Elementary Kids Area at Woodstock City Church

Woodstock City Church is a campus of Northpoint Church in Atlanta.  Recently I toured their Elementary Kids area. It was so amazing.  Here are some photos from the tour.

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Kids Ministry Room Signs

On a recent visit to Woodstock City Church, I noticed their signs.  There were 2 things that I noticed.  I noticed what signs they had displayed, and what signs they didn’t have displayed.

Let’s start with the signs they didn’t have up.  They didn’t have any printed or hand written signs on their walls or doors.  There were no signs advertising upcoming events or displaying messages.  This made their space clean, and clutter free.  It also meant that any signs that were displayed were noticed because they looked professional, clear and to the point.  Here were some signs that they did have on their walls:

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This sign was just on the inside of the room beside the door.  It prompted volunteers to ask important questions when kids arrived.

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This sign clearly outlined how the program was supposed to run and what time each section started and ended for each service.

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This sign was for training new volunteers.  This made sure that everything was covered so that new volunteers knew the policies and procedures while volunteering in that room.

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This sign clearly communicated the bathroom policy and was posted beside the restroom door in every kids room.  Here are a few more signs that were posted in their kids rooms.

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What signs do you have in your kids rooms?  Are there any signs you need to remove so that more attention can be given to signs that are important?  Are there any signs that you could include that you do not currently have posted?  Hopefully, these ideas will help you be more intentional with the signs you post in your kids rooms.

 

Celebrating Birthdays in Kids Ministry – an inside look at birthdays at Woodstock City Church

I was so impressed to see what Woodstock City Church does to celebrate birthdays for kids.  The kids look forward to their Birthday all year long so that they can visit the Birthday Cart.  The Birthday Cart is pretty exciting, but it doesn’t compare to the PERSON who is at the Birthday Cart.  I did not find out this person’s name, but he was amazing as he celebrated each child and their birthday.

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His enthusiasm was off the charts as the kids approached the Birthday Cart.  He called them each by name and asked how old they were.  Then he proceeded to do this:

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He had a bucket full of confetti and he piled it on each child.  He threw it in the air & sang the birthday song!  He made each child feel like the most important person on the planet because it was their birthday.

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At the end of the celebration he pulled out a broom and cleaned it all up, so the area was ready for the next child who came to celebrate their birthday, and he treated them in just the same way.

It doesn’t take much to make a kid feel special on their birthday (or on the Sunday closest to their birthday).  A cart with some prizes, a bucket full of confetti, and a very enthusiastic volunteer who is willing to go all out to make each child feel special.

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Here are a few other ideas I picked up from my visit to Northpoint Church:

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Make a sign so that parents and kids know where to go to celebrate birthdays.

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Have stickers or buttons available for kids to wear so that everyone knows it’s their birthday.

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Make sure you have several different prizes for them to choose from.

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Try to find a volunteer who is outgoing and would be willing to be the Birthday Cart Volunteer.  Birthday prizes are fun, but an enthusiastic volunteer is what takes the experience to a whole new level.

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They even had a Birthday Cart in the Preschool Area.  The prizes were age appropriate and someone dressed in a bee costume greeted each birthday child.  This bear can be found in the preschool area at Northpoint Church.

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This is the Preschool Birthday Cart at Woodstock City Church.

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What do you do for birthdays at your church? Maybe one of these ideas will help you take birthday celebrations to a whole new level!

Church Tour – Woodstock City Church – Preschool Area

Recently I went to the “Drive Conference” at Northpoint Church in Atlanta, GA.  It was like drinking from a firehose.  I learned so much and took so many pitures.  I decided to share my info with all of you in hopes that you can learn from them just like I did.

Before the conference began, I had the opportunity to tour Woodstock City Church, and spend a lot of time behind the scenes.  Woodstock City Church is one of Northpoint Church’s campuses.  They use the same curriculum, systems and processes.  Their staff and volunteers were absolutely incredible.  Over the next few posts I will share with you all kinds of things that I learned and show you pictures of some of the things that they do to make their kids ministry awesome!  Today I’m going to show you some of the pics from the Preschool Area, aka, Waumba Land.

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This is the entrance to Waumba Land. (above)

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The view from inside the doors.  Check out this post about Birthdays.

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The hallways in Waumba Land.

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Stollers are ready in the hallway in case they need to evacuate quickly.

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Love that they incorporated 3-D sculptures for the kids to touch as well as murals.

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This interactive feature was a huge hit with the kids.  They would spin the flower and it would make the fish “jump”.  (It made the wheel turn that had fish on it so it looked like they were jumping behind the rock.)

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They bring their preschoolers to one area for Large Group Time.  This place looked fantastic!  More about this in another post.

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Preschoolers sit on a tiered seating area with their small groups.

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I loved how organized their curriulum and supplies were for their toddler program.  It was super easy for any volunteer to know what to do and where to find what they needed.  More on that in another post.

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They had signs in their rooms that clearly outlined expectations for volunteers.  They looked professional and communicated policies in a way that was easy to understand.  Check out this post about Kids Ministry Signs.

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Their preschool classrooms were very organized and only had what was needed in them.  Their curriculum was very intentional about the activities the kids would be doing that day, so they didn’t have a lot of toys to clutter up their space.

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Their nursery rooms were neat and organized and looked like they were ready to care for babies when they arrived.

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Their nursing mother’s room was comfortable for moms.  The wall art communicated the vision for their preschool ministry and the TV allowed them to watch the service while they were there.  They even had a small fridge stocked with bottles of water.  Love the attention to every detail!

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Over the next few weeks I will share more pictures of the things I learned at Woodstock City Church.  I’ll add some links on this page as I add more info.  If you want to know when more posts are added, be sure to sign up with your email address to be notified when a new post is added.