Find volunteers in places you may’ve never looked
Some volunteer position matches seem to be obvious. We so easily
gravitate to schoolteachers to fill roles in our classrooms,
because schoolteachers usually have the skills, passion, and gifts
that fortify our Christian education program.
But what about the multitude of potential volunteers in your
church who aren’t professional teachers? There are people in your
pews who have hidden talents and competencies you may’ve never
thought about tapping for your ministry.
How can you see beyond the obvious? All you have to do is open
your eyes and ears. To get you started, check out these surprising
ways people could serve in your children’s ministry.
Obvious Role: When it comes to set design and
repairs, children’s ministers are always grateful for these
wonderfully skilled folks. Another great role for construction
workers is training kids in basic construction skills.
Surprising Role: These people live and breathe
“codes” and safety policies. So why not invite them onto your team
to help develop your ministry’s safety and security policies?
Your Pitch: “I know you’re highly skilled in
thinking about safety and security issues in your job. Would you
like to share that expertise with our team in developing codes and
procedures to build a ministry that keeps our kids safe?”
Obvious Role: Who better to stock and organize
your supply cabinet than someone who day in and day out organizes
Surprising Role: People in retail are trained in
exemplary customer service. So why not have these people help train
your greeters in the fine art of friendliness?
Your Pitch: “We need help in training our
greeters to do the very best job greeting folks in our children’s
ministry area. Could you share some of the professional training
you’ve received about treating your customers with care?”
Obvious Role: These trained workers are the best people
to have on hand for possible emergencies that may arise in your
ministry. In addition, they’re great at training kids and staff in
CPR and basic first aid.
Surprising Role: If there’s anyone who
understands what it means to “lay down their life” for others, it’s
emergency workers. When they get a call, they don’t know what
they’ll encounter, but they’re trained to put their lives on the
line. Why not have these special people share about their
commitment to saving lives and helping others? Their vision could
help your staff and kids make the transfer to what it means to lay
down their lives for their friends or people who need Jesus.
Your Pitch: “I’m so grateful for what you do for
our community, and I know you put your life on the line to save
people. Could you share that special calling with our children’s
ministry to inspire all of us to a deeper commitment to
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More than ever, today’s volunteers work online, need flexible
hours, and want to play a role in defining their jobs. They also
want to feel a sense of responsibility for your organization’s
overall mission. Harness this passion and potential–with results
that uplift your goals and enable your volunteers. Check out
The New Breed by Jonathan R. McKee and Thomas W. McKee.
Obvious Role: These specially trained people, such as
engineers and computer scientists, are usually gifted at analysis.
So an obvious role is to invite them into any budgeting or planning
process you have.
Surprising Role: Because these professional
technical workers have to work with schedules and deadlines,
they’re perfect for bringing in to brainstorm your annual calendar.
Have them help you work backward from your deadlines to create a
Your Pitch: “One of the things that would make
our ministry much stronger is to have a detailed plan for meeting
our deadlines. I know you must be very strong at that to be so
successful in your work. Could you join our team for a few hours to
help us be successful?”
Obvious Role: Turn to these gardeners, farmers, and
greenhouse workers when you’re looking for greenery to beautify
Surprising Role: No one understands the
components that are required to grow plants better than these
folks. So why not transfer that skill to helping your staff better
understand how to grow children? You could call this talk “A
Gardener Looks at Sprouting Children.”
Your Pitch: “Our deepest desire in our children’s
ministry is to help children grow in their relationship with Jesus.
I know you understand what can enhance or harm growth in plants.
Would you be willing to share that information as a metaphor with
our staff to help us understand how we can enhance our kids’
Obvious Role: Recruit these wordsmiths to help with your
ministry newsletter, Web site, or any other publications you
Surprising Role: People who work in publishing
often have an insatiable curiosity. They’re trained to ask
questions and get the story. Things can go awry in your ministry,
such as disgruntled team members bickering or families deserting
your church in droves. And there are times you just can’t figure
out what’s wrong. So why not recruit these people to help you
sensitively search out the real reasons to the issue?
Your Pitch: “I appreciate your ability to get the
story and dig deep for details. We have a very tough situation in
our ministry that requires sensitive and skillful investigation.
Would you be willing to share your skills with our ministry to help
us arrive at a confidential and peaceful resolution?”
Obvious Role: These people make a living providing
administrative help to people who must lead and delegate. So the
obvious role for these people is to assist you or others in
Surprising Role: Of course, every person differs
in abilities and personal strengths, but administrative assistants
have the unique role of working closely with leaders. Day in and
day out, these people are critical to a leader’s execution of his
or her vision. Leadership is bound to rub off, so why not recruit
these people to lead ministry areas and apply everything they’ve
been mentored to do?
Your Pitch: “You’ve provided such important
support to your boss for all these years, and as I’ve watched you,
I’m convinced that your boss’ leadership has rubbed off on you.
Would you consider taking all you’ve learned and use it to lead
children to Christ?”
Obvious Role: These people are perfect to help with
preparing any meals or providing a great service experience for
church meals and get-togethers.
Surprising Role: Ever wondered why the little
voice in the fast-food drive-through speaker asks, “Do you want
fries with that?” It’s a value-added philosophy. Fast-food
restaurants have figured out that since they have your attention,
it’s easy to add one more thing if you’ll go for it. So why not ask
these folks to help you figure out how you could add value to
everything you’re doing in your children’s ministry?
Your Pitch: “Would you consider helping us look
at everything we’re doing and brainstorm ways to add value or
additional benefits to what we’re already doing?” cm