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children's ministry volunteers
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7 Things to Do When Short on Children’s Ministry Volunteers

With these 7 things to do when short on children’s ministry volunteers, you’ll solve a volunteer crisis quickly.


If you’re staring at empty rooms and you can hear the impending approach of small feet heading for your ministry, don’t panic! We’ve got a few handy, in-a-pinch solutions that’ll get you and your ministry through a volunteer shortage.

1. Combine classrooms. This solution works well for short-term or long-term volunteer shortages. Your best bet is to combine classes that are close in age. It’s also better to combine “up” — or combine the class with an older rather than younger age group. That allows older kids to help younger ones and works well for relationship building and mentoring. Plus, the teacher absorbing the class will have an entire room of “instant assistants.”

2. Move to a large group/small group setup. Creating a system where everyone meets in a large group area and then moves to a smaller group means you only need one prepared teacher. You’ll need several small group leaders, too, but they don’t need teaching skills like your up-front person. For a great large group/small group curriculum, check out Group’s Dig In Curriculum.

3. Implement a rotation model. Set up a rotation model where kids move from one learning station to another throughout their time. You can also rotate teachers from class to class or group to group. This system requires assistants but will cut your need for trained teachers.

4. Recruit teenagers. One of the most-overlooked resources in the church may be sitting in your youth ministry. Teenagers can be great with kids. Plus, many of them are natural teachers. Beef up your volunteer base and get these students on a training track to become teachers!

5. Close classrooms. This is something that makes many children’s ministers shudder, but in some cases it may be your best option. First, determine what your room or class capacity is and what your procedure for closing a class will be. Your adult-to-child ratio should follow your state’s health and human services recommendations. Click here to learn what to say when you close a classroom.

6. Use a come-to-one/serve-the-other philosophy. This strategy works in churches that have multiple services. Basically it means that people who attend a worship service are encouraged to sign on to serve in a Sunday school room. This also works best if it’s articulated and supported by your senior pastor.

7. Recruit standing substitutes. Part of your recruiting plan should be to create a list of on-call substitutes. A reliable, well-stocked list of subs will get you through several weeks of volunteer shortage. Communicate to your subs how you’re actively recruiting long-term team members so they’re not afraid to plug in for the short term.


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7 Things to Do When Short on Children...

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