Let the pastor go 20 minutes over every other week.
Trick your volunteers by going from room to room to
announce that you spoke with the pastor and today the service will
end on time. This will discourage even your
experienced-but-proactive volunteers who had planned extra
activities "just in case." Don't encourage parents to pick up their
children promptly after the service ends-but do provide several
fellowship opportunities after the service. Let parents know your
volunteers won't mind watching their kids while they catch up with
friends over doughnuts and coffee.
Give them junior assistants aplenty.
There's no better way to make it look like you're
supporting your volunteers, when in reality you're annoying them to
no end. Junior assistants (especially 6th through 8th graders
without any training) create added work and provide for an
exhausting morning for your adult volunteers. It's almost like
secretly adding extra kids to their room.
Set up a schedule that makes it clear your volunteers will never
attend an adult service again.
This works especially well in churches that only provide
one adult worship service a week. Schedule your volunteers to serve
every week without a break, and harp often about how one hour per
week really is the minimum investment a volunteer can make in a
Capitalize on discouragements and cynicism.
Require volunteers to pay you for a CD copy of the
sermon. Don't give your volunteers time off-ever. Don't replace
burnt-out light bulbs in their rooms. Stick them in the smelliest,
darkest, most cluttered basement room you can find. Let them know
every week that you don't value them or what they do…and in no time
you'll lose every volunteer who brightens your doorstep.
Celebrate by spending a few hours at Starbucks, buying yourself a
fancy drink, and updating your LinkedIn profile and résumé. Trust
me, you'll need it.
Christiaan VandenHeuvel is the
executive team leader for children and students at his church in
This article is excerpted from Children's Ministry Magazine.