How To Get Volunteers To Serve Weekly

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People are busy!  It is hard enough to get people to volunteer, so how can we ask them to serve every week?  Weekends are busy with family commitments, or time to relax and sleep in.  Volunteering weekly will be the most rewarding for volunteers but how can we get them to understand that?

At a recent Kids Ministry Volunteer Event, I encouraged people to consider going to the next level.  Most of my volunteers serve every other week, but I wanted them to really understand the difference it would make in them and in the kids, if they increased their commitment level to every week.

Our volunteer event had a “video game” theme.  I compared going to the next level in a video game to going to the next level in serving.  I made a PowerPoint Presentation.  The presentation includes some notes to help explain what the slide is about.

I also made a few handouts that I refer to in the PowerPoint Presentation.  I thought it was important to paint a picture of what we were looking for if one were to reach the “win”.  You can view and download that document here.

The other handout I made was a Serving Weekly FAQs.  I read this with them and helped them understand why serving weekly would be beneficial and some steps to consider to think about moving in that direction.

Finally, I showed a video of one of our volunteers who moved from serving once every three weeks to serving weekly.  This personal story really helped people feel like someone understands their hesitations, but if they are willing to try serving weekly, it will be very rewarding.  The person who shared their story in this video gave me permission to share her story with you so that it might help others switch to serving weekly too.  You can download the video here.  Please leave a comment below the video so I can encouarge her with the ripple effect of her story.

I know that serving weekly is not for everyone, but I think it’s good to encourage people to think about it.  It might be the experience that is life changing!

 

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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!

 

 

Booklet For New Volunteers

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When people sign up to volunteer in our Kids Rooms, we want to equip them with all the info they need to get started, and do their job well.  It can be a little overwhelming for a new volunteer to try to remember everything, so we created some booklets for each room that give them the basics to get started.  This one page (double sided) document gives them some basic info that they can take home with them, and they can refer to.  We also have another volunteer training booklet that we give to all volunteers that covers our vision & our goals as well as our safety training, but these room booklets are specific to each room and outline things that volunteers will need to know while serving in that room.  You can download a copy of each of these booklets:

Nursery Booklet
Preschool Booklet
JK/SK Small Group Leader Booklet
Grades 1-2 Small Group Leader Booklet

Hopefully you will find these helpful!

New Volunteer Gift

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When people sign up to volunteer in Kids Ministry, we have a lot of stuff and info that we give them to get started.  To help simplify the process, we put together a gift bag for them.  Here’s what’s in the bag:

  1.  A Booklet that is specific to their ministry area.  It gives them basic ‘need to know’ info so that they can get started.
  2. Our Kids Ministry Orientation Training Booklet.  This is general info about our Kids Ministry that is relevant to all kids rooms.  You can download the PDF version here or the Adobe InDesign file here.
  3. A Creekside Kids t-shirt.  We want all of our Kids Volunteers to wear a Creekside Kids t-shirt when they are serving.
  4. A Name Tag.  They wear this name tag when they are serving, and leave it in the kids room when they are done for the day.
  5. Extras.  We include a few little gifts so that new volunteers know that we are excited to have them join our team.  A travel mug or plastic cup, a Creekside pen & some candies usually do the trick.

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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:
http://www.amazon.com/Not-Normal-Quirks-Incredible-Volunteers/dp/1941259154/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435792421&sr=8-1&keywords=not+normal+sue+miller

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 #1http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/despicable-me/sleepy-kittens

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 #2http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/despicable-me/changed-his-heart

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!

Kids Ministry Volunteer Training Book – Free Download

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Every year we have a volunteer training event in September.  We review the safety stuff as well as the vision and values.  It’s a chance for new volunteers to learn the basics and returning volunteers to be reminded about why we do what we do.

Volunteer Training Manuals can be boring to read.  We decided it was important to work on making it look interesting so that it was easy to read.  Here is the link to our Volunteer Training Book.  You can download a copy and use it as a sample to create your own volunteer training book.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4qifCmSLEUWdGpWZzQ1M3hjeVE/view?usp=sharing

What to include in your training event

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This weekend we had our annual Kids Ministry Volunteer Training Event.  Here’s what we did:

Promotion – Start months ahead with a few “save the date” emails.  Then 3 weeks before the event, send emails weekly, and get your leaders from each room to email their teams of volunteers.  Put posters of the event up in kids ministry spaces.  Get people to sign up online.

Theme – Choose a theme that is fun!  This year we went with a Transformers theme and focused on moving beyond Supervision (of kids) to Transformation (in their lives)

Set up – Have the room decorated, set up & stuff on people’s chairs like training manuals & chocolates when they arrive.  The first impression when they arrive will be a great one if you have everything ready to go & you pay attention to detail.

Food – Definitely include food.  It’s even better if you can get your food to match your theme!

Fun – Include a game or event that is just plain fun.  Because we had a transformers theme, 5 volunteers had to try to transform the transformer toy from a robot into a vehicle.  Game music & cheering help to bring energy to the game.

Prizes – Door prizes are a great way to go.  People love to win things.  Get as many as your budget will allow.  Ask for donations if you have a limited budget.

Have people talk other than you – We had a discussion panel of volunteers.  I sent them questions ahead of time so they were prepared with their answers.  It was so great to have them talk about stuff that I usually say.  It was very powerful coming from them.

Power Point & Video – Keep things visual whenever possible.  Media helps to keep people’s attention.  Video clips bring variety and can help drive your point home.  I used a video clip of Bill Hybels, “Coffee with God“.  It helped to illustrate about the life transformation that can happen when you spend time with God.

Motivation Talk – Remind people why we do what we do.  Tell stories.  Show videos.

Neighbour discussion – To help break up a longer time of “sit and listen”, have volunteers turn to their neighbour & tell each other one thing they just learned from what was just talked about.

Take Home – Have them write down (on a card that you make ahead of time) one thing they can do to improve what they are doing & tell them to take it home & put it in a place where they will see it on a regular basis to remind them.

Appreciation Video – a few weeks before the event get video footage of as many volunteers in action as possible.  Edit it together & add some music & play it at the end of your main session.

Breakout Groups – Give people a chance to chat about their own area of ministry with their team.  The last hour of our training event is spent in ministry specific groups all over our building.  They chat about things that are specific to where they serve.