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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How to decrease volunteer turnover

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Look what came in the mail today!  I love reading books on leadership, especially ones that are related to Disney.

Employee Engagement was written by Pete Blank who was a cast member at Walt Disney World.  He shares his knowledge & experiences from working at Disney, specifically on the topic of keeping employees engaged.  In the first chapter, he talks about 4 reasons why people work and stay in their jobs.  I think the same principles apply to volunteering in kids ministry.

They like the job – These people like to do the role they are doing.  They are wired to do it and simply love doing what they are doing.
Look for people to serve in areas of their passion.  If you find the role to fit the person, they will stay serving because they are doing what they love to do.

They like the organization – These people believe in the organization.  They may volunteer in your church because they believe in it and are willing to do what it takes to see ministry happen.
Look for people who have been around for many years.  Different stages of life bring about different serving options.  Perhaps people who are retired now have time to invest in the next generation.

They like the boss – These people are connected to the leader.  They like how they lead, the friendship & the overall benefits of interacting with the leader.
Connect with people outside of kids ministry.  The friends you make will probably want to help you in kids ministry because they have connected with you.

They like the people they work with – These people like to be with their team!  Volunteers in these roles have a sense of community with the people they serve with.
Be intentional about placing people on teams where they can connect.  Put young adults with young adults.  Put families with young children with families with young children.  They will probably have a lot in common and will become friends.  Friends like to serve with their friends.

If you work on these 4 areas, chances are you will have less turn over and your volunteers will stick around.

 

 

 

Top 10 books on my need to read list

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Here are 10 books that I am currently reading or have purchased to read in the next few months.

Creating Ever-Cool – A Marketer’s Guide to a Kid’s Heart – Gene Del Vecchio

Dream It!  Do It! – A Half Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms – Marty Sklar

Be a People Person – John Maxwell

The Advantage – Patrick Lencioni

Amplified Leadership – Dan Reiland

Deep and Wide – Andy Stanley

Rock Solid Children’s Ministry – Larry Fowler

Autism and your Church – Barbara J. Newman

Lead Vertically – Inspire People to Volunteer – Build Great Teams that Last – Craig Johnson

Purpose-Filled Presentations – How any Christian can Communicate More Effectively to Anybody, Anytime, Anywhere – Tony Jeary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My top 10 favourite leadership books

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Here is a list of my favourite leadership books that I have read.  They have helped shaped the Kids Ministry Leader that I am today.

Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by John Maxwell

Simply Strategic Stuff by Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan

Simply Strategic Growth by Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan

Stretch – Structuring Your Ministry for Growth by Jim Wideman

Be Our Guest – Perfecting the Art of Customer Service – Disney Institute

The Church Mouse – Leadership Lessons from the Magic Kingdom – Christopher W. Perry

The Complete 101 Collection – What Every Leaders Needs to Know – John Maxwell

Creating Magic – 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney – Lee Cockerell

The Land Between – Finding God in Difficult Transitions -Jeff Manion –  a must read book if you ever go through a difficult transition.

 

My top 10 favourite kids ministry books

Books

Here are some of my favourite Kids Ministry books.  I have read each of them and they have had a big influence in how I do Kids Ministry:

Sue Miller & David Staal’s book – Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week

Jim Wideman’s book – Children’s Ministry Leadership – the you-can-do-it guide

Dale Hudson & friends’ book – 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge your Preschool Ministry

Dale Hudson & Scott Werner’s book – 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge your Children’s Ministry

Aaron Reynolds book – The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School

Jim Wideman’s book – Volunteers that Stick

Jonathan & Thomas W. McKee’s book – The New Breed – Understanding & Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer

Barbara Blton & friends’ book – Care and Feeding of Volunteers

Tony Morgan & Tim Steven’s book – Simply Strategic Volunteers

Craig Jutila’s book – Leadership Essentials for Children’s Ministry

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bible for kids with Autism

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When I was at CPC2014 in Orlando I had the opportunity to meet Sergio Cariello.  He is the guy who illustrated The Action Bible.

What I love about this Bible, is that it is a Graphic Novel.  It is also full color & the pages are glossy paper.  My son who has autism has some sensory challenges and he doesn’t like to touch most paper.  However, because The Action Bible is made with glossy paper, the texture does not bother him.

The Action Bible makes a great option for kids who have  challenges reading.   It’s graphic novel style helps tell the stories of the Bible in a way that speaks to their learning style.  It’s also a great option for children who have sensory issues because of the glossy pages.

What resources do you use in your children’s ministry to help kids with special needs?

Training Volunteers – Disney Style

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I have started reading this book.  Disney U.  It’s loaded with great information.

Disney believes that if they treat their employees (aka Cast Members) well, then they will in turn treat their customers (aka guests) well.

One of the things that Disney does with their new cast members is send them to Disney University for orientation.  During this process, they teach them about the history of Disney and what it takes to help cast members have a great experience.  They take the time to invest in their cast members and paint the picture of what they want them to do.  They believe if the cast members are having a great experience working at Disney, then that will transfer into how well they do their job & the guests will have a great experience.

Light bulb moment.  Invest in your volunteers.  Work hard to help them have a great experience & enjoy what they do.  It will have a ripple effect & ministry to children & families will be better because of your investment in volunteers.

How well do you train your new kids ministry volunteers?  Do you welcome them with a smile & then put them right to work?  At Creekside, we start with an online program that takes about 7 minutes to complete.  Volunteers can do this initial orientation training on their own time when it is most convenient for them.  We also use a buddy system to partner new volunteers with experienced ones.  In the fall we have a big volunteer training event that we pull all the stops out for.  We want them to enjoy the training & enjoy what they do when they are volunteering on our Kids Ministry team.

How do you train your new volunteers?

If you haven’t read this book, you should get it.  Lots to learn from it.