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Appreciation Dinner Taking Care of Volunteers

CHILDREN'S MINISTRY VOLUNTEERS APPRECIATION DINNER

To show our Children's Ministry volunteers that they're doing a great job, we gave them a catered buffet dinner. We sent out personal invitations to workers and their spouses asking them to R.S.V.P.

At the dinner, we had children serve water, coffee, and punch. The children also sang a song of gratitude and a few children shared what they appreciated about their Sunday school teachers. During the evening, we had a slide-show presentation of our volunteers serving with children. (We had taken these slides throughout the year at special events and on Sunday mornings.)

We had gifts in brightly colored bags that matched the balloons and tablecloths. We were tight on finances, so we weren't able to buy gifts for everyone. We wanted everyone to get a chance to mingle and feel comfortable so we placed five to six gifts in each bag and had two dice in a pie tin. Volunteers rolled the dice and then passed the pie tin. If they received doubles on the dice, they were able to choose a prize from the bag.

After all the prizes were opened and claimed, we gave people five minutes to continue to roll the dice and pass the pie tin. If people got doubles, they could take a gift from someone else. This game brought out the child in everyone.

We closed with a note of appreciation and prayer from our senior pastor and children's pastor.

Connie Chapple Blaine, Minnesota


10 "SWAPPABLE" ITEMS

Swapping materials and educational items with other churches will give you a storehouse of ideas and supplementary materials. Having materials more available will make Children's Ministry volunteers' jobs easier.

Meet with a representative from each church that wants to be involved in a Swap Club and set up guidelines for swapping. Have each church provide a list of available items. Keep the lists updated. Set up check-in and check-out procedures. Be sure not to infringe on copyrights.

Here are items that'll work with any church:

  1. Games, sports equipment, carnival games for special events, reproducible game sheets, and books with game ideas
  2. Craft books, reproducible crafts, leftover craft kits and craft supplies, such as foam trays and juice-can lids, badge-makers, beadwork frames, and other reusable equipment
  3. Music, records, tapes, and instruments
  4. Costumes and props
  5. Puppet, clowning, and creative dance materials
  6. Children's sermon ideas and object lesson materials
  7. Bulletin board cutouts, borders, pictures, and ideas
  8. Children's clip art
  9. Classroom visuals
  10. Library materials, books, maps, and magazines

Mary Davis Montrose, Iowa


WINNING COOPERATION

Create a climate of cooperation among your Children's Ministry volunteer team with these ideas from Well-Intentioned Dragons: Ministering to Problem People in the Church by Marshall Shelley:

Publicly praise your volunteer team's strengths, such as their ability to endure hardship, their creative flair, or their deep love for children.

Enjoy and take pride in the diversity among team members. See differences as your greatest strength because you complement each other.

Thank critics, at least initially, for their candor and concern. Be open to people's input. Let others know that your team is still in process and eager to be all God wants them to be.

Assume that anything uncomplimentary you say about others will be repeated. So don't say it. Trust very few people with your private criticisms and suspicions.

Step cautiously into other people's problems. Balance Paul's instruction to carry each other's burdens (Galatians 6:1-5) and Jesus' refusal to intervene in the disputes of others (Luke 12:14).


BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO IDEA

Invest in a camcorder and use it to tape training sessions. The videos can be checked out by Children's Ministry volunteers who miss meetings. Also, you can show the tapes to new teachers or use them as a refresher course for longtime teachers. And an added bonus: Provide them to potential teachers who want to learn more about your children's ministry.

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