Are Your Volunteers Up To Speed?

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Ever wonder if you have the right person in the right volunteer role or if the volunteer understands your ministry? Here’s what you need to know to get your volunteers up to speed.

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“I learned about a dream-catcher in church today. If you have one by your bed, it’ll take all your bad dreams away,” explained the 6-year-old, towheaded boy to his mother after Sunday school. Needless to say, the children’s minister got a call from a very concerned mother that week. After some checking, the children’s minister discovered that an assistant teacher had taught the children this “extra” lesson at one of the learning centers. After further checking, the children’s minister realized that this teacher had never actually expressed faith in Christ.

What was she doing in a class shaping impressionable children’s beliefs?

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In recruiting for volunteer roles, we can’t assume that every volunteer is a Christian and ready to teach. There are certain basic doctrines our teachers must know and believe. James’ words solemnly remind us of the serious responsibility teachers have: “…Not many of you should become teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). Teachers have a great influence for good or bad. They integrally shape children’s beliefs.

Questions To Ask

I faced a dilemma in my own ministry. I needed teachers. Yet the prospective teacher before me obviously erred on some critical biblical issues. “How do people get into heaven?” I asked.

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The woman stammered as she replied, “I’m not sure. I guess because they do good things.”

Was this potential volunteer really qualified to teach children? Did she understand the basics of the Christian faith? How can we know if volunteers are up to speed biblically? Here are four basic belief areas we use in our church to examine each potential volunteer.

View of Eternal Life Ask volunteers: “How certain are you that you’ll go to heaven someday? Why do you think you’ll get into heaven?” These two questions will reveal whether a volunteer trusts him- or herself and personal good works, or whether the person believes in God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) for eternal life. Look for genuine dependence upon Christ. Is this person really a Christian? If not, he or she should not be teaching children. How can teachers help children develop something that they themselves don’t have?

View of the Human Condition “Are people ‘fallen’? Do they need a Savior?” Many people believe that people are basically good and heaven-bound on their own, while the Bible clearly teaches otherwise. “I was brought into this world in sin. In sin my mother gave birth to me” (Psalm 51:5). If we’re not fallen, then we don’t need a Savior. If children have hearts that are already good, then they don’t need a Savior either.

View of Jesus “What is the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross?” Recently, I interviewed a volunteer who believed that Jesus sinned just as you and I do. Was this an important issue? Yes! Only if Jesus lived a sinless life could he die for our sins and rise again.

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View of Scripture  “Is God’s Word altogether true?” Many people may believe the Bible is God’s Word, yet, they do not believe it’s wholly true. When your teachers present the Scripture, do they believe it’s true? If they don’t, how will our children be able to trust God’s Word and accept it as their guide?

Ask your teachers, “Are there things in the Bible that are hard for you to accept?” Use their answers as insights into areas where you can give guidance. Perhaps it’s a matter of interpretation for which you can offer additional information. Then determine if their existing view upholds Scripture’s truthfulness so that your children’s faith is nurtured rather than damaged.

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