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Project Kickstart

Lesleigh Keetch

Creative thinking motivates.

Sometimes your wider church community is the best resource you have when it comes to recharging your volunteers' enthusiasm. Here's how these leaders lean on their church community for inspiration.

• Platinum Partnerships-"Church staffs are full of talented and experienced men and women. Even though they may not be working with children's programming, they can be a great resource for ideas and inspiration," says Spidle. Encouraging your team members to bond with volunteers and leaders in other areas for ideas and motivation is a great way to inspire friendships and renewed energy.

Ministry communities should encourage one another, says Wong. "I ask our pastors and leadership to thank our team, to let them know it matters that they're ministering to the kids," she says.

• Teacher Cooperation-Some teachers get an energy boost from combining efforts with other teachers. Be willing to step back and allow some freedom and creative approaches to teaching, advises Martinez.

"Actually, just giving teachers the freedom to do their projects is very motivating. They can get together and share ideas," says Martinez.

• Planned Relief-The children's ministry staff at Southeast Christian Church spends a lot of time talking about how to recruit and motivate volunteers.

"We try to plan several breaks through the year for our volunteers. We can't always give everyone a day off, but we can plan special programming where the responsibilities are lighter," says French. Puppet shows, planned parties, and movies help mix things up and motivate volunteers.

Personal connections motivate.

Chances are, your volunteers are with you because they believe in the vision of the ministry and want to make a difference. There's no better way to motivate people than to let your volunteers know the concrete impact they're making.

• Shared Impact-Give your volunteers personal reasons to cheer, advises Spidle.

"When you learn that a child has accepted Jesus, signed up for baptism, or has had his or her young life impacted, share the news with volunteers," says Spidle. "It can have a tremendous effect on volunteers' commitment to ministry."

• Personal Investments-Wong asks her volunteers to personalize a section of each lesson because it makes teaching a more personal experience.

"I ask volunteers to read their lessons with themselves in mind. How has God worked in their life?" says Wong.

"Our leaders are asked to invest in the lives of the kids in their group and become role models," agrees French.

• Prayer-"Prayer works!" says Spidle. She suggests specifically asking church staff and prayer teams to pray for your volunteers and your ministry. Let your volunteers know people care about what they're doing and are praying for them. cm

Lesleigh Keetch is a freelance writer in Durango, Colorado.

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