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