At the beginning of the season, volunteers are usually happy to be volunteering in their role. But sometimes their passion fades, they lose interest and decide they no longer want to volunteer.
How do you keep volunteers committed and passionate about what they are doing all year long? The secret is in the vision. You need to keep pouring into your volunteering all year long so their passion stays strong.
Here’s a little video I put together to illustrate this idea:
EPIC takes place every summer at our church. It’s the week where Kids Ministry takes over every square inch of the church, and helps kids learn about Jesus and have FUN!
It takes an incredible team of volunteers to make this happen. All of them volunteer their time to make the week amazing for the kids. Here is a list of our Leadership Team & what they do:
EPIC Director – oversees EPIC. Communicates with the leadership team & helps them make their area of ministry happen.
Decor Leader – plans & designs the decor for EPIC. Works with a team of volunteers to collect supplies & create ‘stuff’ to make the theme come alive. I should mention that most of their decorations are made from cardboard that they paint & cut out. Super LOW budget! 🙂
Admin Leader – works with the director to track registrations & admin stuff like name tags & lists of names.
Preschool Director – works with a team of adults to plan & lead the program for preschoolers. We provide a program for children age 0-4 for the children of our volunteers.
Snack Leader – works with a team of volunteers to plan, & prepare snack for the kids every day. They work hard to choose healthy snacks & food that goes with the theme each year.
Games Leader – plans & prepares the games for the kids.
Science Station Leader – each year we have chosen to include some kind of science creation every day instead of a craft.
Bible Station Leader – plans & prepares the Bible Lesson for the devotional station.
Stage Leader – works with the band,tech & stage team to make the open & closing sessions happen every day.
Other Important Volunteer Roles:
Crew Leaders – hang out with a group of 5 children every day & help them get to each station.
Registration Team – help kids check in & out every day.
Nurse – keeps us well supplied with band-aids.
Greeters – welcome people when they arrive & help direct them so that registration goes smoothly and quickly.
Preschool Team – run an entire program for the little kids so volunteers can leave their younger children in a high quality program while they serve.
Nursery Team – help with caring for babies of volunteers.
Photographers/Videographers – capture the events of the week on film so we can use footage for promo & appreciation events.
Volunteer Snacks – everyday we start the morning off with coffee & food for the volunteers before the kids arrive. We have volunteers make snacks just for the volunteer team.
Family Event Carnival Team – organize carnival games, pony rides, bouncy castle etc. for the Family Event (Thursday evening).
Family Event Food Team – do everything needed to feed supper to all the kids and their families for Thursday Evening.
Parking Team – helps everyone find a place to park on the night of the Family Event
Shoppers – these people are given a list of supplies & they purchase what is needed for various stations
Missions Fund Raising Team – This year a team of people made jars of jam to sell at the Family Event to raise money for our missions projects.
Builders – sometimes we needed things built for our stations that required power tools or handy work.
Starbucks Runner – Ok, so maybe not a requirement, but it sure was nice to have someone go pick up an extra special treat for some hard working volunteers.
My role (Kids Pastor) is to make sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. I work closely with the EPIC director and she works closely with the leadership team. I pray for & encourage people as they serve. I also make sure that hand written thank you cards get to each volunteer. I don’t teach anything or lead any activities so that I am available to meet kids & parents & spend time with volunteers.
A few years ago I went to visit Northview Church in Carmel, Indiana. Each kids room was themed for the appropriate age group.
Slides to get from the upper lever to the lower level.
Stages with screens for multi-media.
Risers for kids to sit on with enough space to stand & move to the music.
Play spaces that were creative & fun.
Recruiting volunteers isn’t easy. It never goes away and you are never done. I used to dread when someone would tell me that they were stepping down, because that meant that I would have to go recruit another volunteer to fill their spot.
But now I have a new perspective. Here are some things I learned along the way.
It’s God’s church, not my church. I do not have to carry the burden of “not enough volunteers” because this is God’s ministry and not mine.
Pray – Ok, so this could be THE secret, but I’m going to presume that you are already making this step a priority.
Do the homework. You can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to you. You need to do your homework. I use something I call “The Matrix”. It’s a massive spreadsheet of all the rooms I oversee, with spaces for every volunteer role for every service time. I fill it in with people’s name who are covering that role, and then I can see visually what I still need.
Start Connecting – Go to other ministry leaders & people groups & start asking questions and meeting new people. Do they know anyone who isn’t serving? Do things like go to the senior’s lunch, introduce yourself to people, and begin to get to know them. You will be amazed at who you will meet and what their passion & gifts are.
Relationships – If I were to narrow it down to the best kept secret, I would say that recruiting is all about relationships. Meeting people, getting to know them, and helping them find a spot that fits for them. As I look over my volunteer team, most of the people serving are people I have met at events, or they are friends of my volunteers. People want to serve with and help their friends. The secret to recruiting? It’s relationships.