Book Review: The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams

DaleHudsonBook

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 create volunteer training that people will want to come to

TrainingIf you want things to run smoothly in Kids Ministry, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time training your team of volunteers.  However, usually when you mention the word training, people’s schedules suddenly fill up quickly.  Here are some tips that can help you be successful at creating a training event that people will want to come to:

#1.  Value people’s time.  Limit the amount of events that you ask them to come to.  I hold an annual training event for all of my volunteers.  I strongly encourage them to attend, but that’s the only ‘training event’ that I ask them to attend all year.

#2.  Go Big or Go Home.  If you are going to take the time to put together a training event, then make it FUN!  – Choose a theme & run with it.  Pinterest has zillions of ideas on every theme possible.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  Cardboard, paint & paper can go a long way to make your decor look spectacular.  Door prizes are always fun for people because they like winning things.  Take home bags with some resources, notepaper, a pen & a few candies are another good idea to include.

#3.  Have a schedule and stick to it.  Include things like a main session, workshops, guest speakers, discussion panels & team building time.

#4.  Food.  You have to have food.  If possible get your food to match your theme.  Once again, visit Pinterest.

#5.  Make it motivational.  Somewhere in your schedule you need to include a motivational talk.  Remind people why they do what they do.  Remind them that they are making a difference.  Use stories &/or video to help illustrate this.

#6.  Make it practical.  Give people some ‘how-to’s’ and some ideas that they can implement in their roles.  Post cards with websites for more info, or a guest speaker, or a top 10 list are great ways to do this.

#7.  Give people a chance to talk.  The last thing you want to do is talk AT people the whole time.  Get them to turn to their neighbour and share one idea or story.  Do some round table discussion.  Give them time to get into groups of 3 or 4 to share ideas.

#8.  Help them discover action steps.  Be sure to include times throughout your event when they can pause and WRITE DOWN one thing they can do to improve what they do in Kids Ministry.

#9. Include a ‘more information’ option.  Some people might be willing to learn more!  Be sure to include some books, videos, websites & blog posts that might be beneficial to them if they want to learn more.

#10.  Celebrate the wins!  I love to include a video or slideshow of the volunteers in action.  It helps people see that they are not alone and there is a whole team of people who are serving along with them.  Be sure to take lots of video clips & pics in the weeks leading up to your event so you can catch your current volunteers in action!  Add some funky music & you have a celebration presentation!!

 

 

 

 

Here’s a way to keep vision in front of your volunteers

Picturewall

Keeping vision in front of your volunteers is one of the most important things you will do as a Kids Ministry Leader.  Reminding people over and over of why they do what they do.

On my most recent trip to Crossroads Church in Cincannati, I was reminded of something that they do to keep vision in front of their volunteers.  Many of their kids ministry rooms have a picture wall.  The pictures are specific to the ministry that happens in that room.  The volunteer room has pictures of volunteers with kids, the special needs room has pictures of one-on-one buddies with their special friend.  Each picture represents a story of a volunteer making a difference in the life of a child.  Many of the volunteers that came with me from my church noticed the picture walls, and were impacted by the message in the form of pictures.

How do you keep vision in front of your volunteers?