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Archives: Volunteers – Are We Asking Too Much? (1 of 2)

I could write a book. But I won’t. If you’ve been in kids ministry for any amount of time, you’ve visited this topic. What level of commitment do we ask from a volunteer? How much is too much? Is a weekly commitment too much to ask?

In kids ministry, I’ve swung both ways.

once a month

every other week

whenever you can

The manner in which we attempt to work around everyone’s schedule in order to make sure that their volunteer role is in no way a burden to them is comical. Borders on desperate.

Don’t misunderstand. I have no issue with making sure that a volunteer is placed in the right role. That they have a schedule that works well for them. But is it possible to take this too far? Can we lose the element sacrifice that makes serving so rewarding on the back end?

Let’s consider the 2 key components of kidmin… the kid & the volunteer.

Component #1: What is best for the kids?

If our ministry is designed with the kid in mind, then how do we structure our volunteer team in a way that is best for the kids? Great programming is wonderful. And there are many quality products on the market. But without the relationship, the impact is minimal. It is not the programming the makes a ministry great. It’s the people.

So, if relationships are the vital component then what is the best way to foster relationships?

An ‘every-other-week’ volunteer will spend a total of two hours per month attempting to establish a friendship with the kids in their group.

Can a friendship be established and maintained with that amount of time investment?

How about trust?

What if that child misses a week due to illness, vacation, etc?

These are tough questions. But they lead to one point. Consistency is the best tool to foster relationships among the volunteers and their kids. Consistency is maintained through a weekly commitment.


  1. We’ve done a few things in the last 2 years that has made a huge difference in the health and commitment of our volunteers. We created a second (earlier) worship service, not because our attendance was so high at the time, but so our volunteer teams would never have to miss a worship service because they were serving on Sunday mornings. Then we switched to a weekly commitment in kid’s ministry. We’ve also built a team that takes our curriculum and pulls the activities we’ve decided to use and prepares all the materials and sets up the rooms for Sunday morning. This has been great for people who want to help that may not want to be up in the middle of a bunch of kids! This is a great help to the small group leaders, they review the lesson during the week and they come in ready to go! Before we made these changes we always had a problem with volunteers being late, not showing up at all, etc. Now, that is rarely an issue.

    • Kim,
      These are great steps to have in place to bring support and set your volunteers up for success. Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Gina,

    Great to see people broaching this subject. I’m with Ministry Scheduler Pro, we help churches schedule volunteers. We work with children’s ministries all across the country. We talk with a lot of Children’s Ministry leaders who are caught between a rock and a hard place because the music ministries are using PCO but Planning Center’s scheduling component doesn’t work for them. I’d love to talk to you about what we could be doing to make Ministry Scheduler Pro better for Children’s Ministries. Unfortunately, it’s the kids that ultimately lose out when there aren’t enough teachers and scheduling conflicts get in the way of lesson plans.

    Most church leaders come to us when the task of attracting, retaining and pleasing the scheduling requests of their volunteers is already out of control. We help make it easy to schedule volunteers by putting volunteers on a rotation that fits their schedule while also requires some minimum level of commitment. Email and text message reminders and online substitutions are just a few of the features that help volunteers remember their commitment to the church and deal with unforeseen circumstances as they come up. Again, I’d be very interested in talking with you to see how we could improve our software to make it an even better fit for Kidz Ministries.

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