We launched a new series in Toon Town called “Scoundrels 2”. Many volunteers dressed in western gear. There’s something about cowboy boots that make you strut. 🙂
Volunteers & kids dressing for the theme is a fun way to make kids a part of the experience. Not to be done with every series… or you’ll wear it out. But perfect to pepper in throughout the year.
I’d rather have a volunteer’s focus for 100% of 1 experience than have their focus for 50% of 2 experiences. All in or all out. If I get 50%, I’ve got a warm body. If I get 100%, I’ve got someone engaged with the kids. I want 100%
I taught a parenting workshop. First one in a while. I was lit up. I love encouraging, focusing and equipping parents.
God’s drawn me back to Joshua 3 & 4 where I’ll form the content for my next parenting workshop. Launch the 1st workshop this weekend geared toward parents whose kids are interested in baptism
I don’t like volunteers that are more concerned about talking to me than they are serving those coming through the doors.
We worked to connect with kids attending a local school where a classmate passed away last week. I love the fact that I have so many adults in LifeKIDS equipped to shepherd and minister to these kids.
I hate it when I can’t remember kids names.
Reality of elementary experiences! If the adult guys don’t do the dance moves… the boys won’t do them either! I love all the guys that serve in Toon Town and the Loop. They’re a critical part of the culture.
Human signage: I need human signage. I need volunteers that simply point the way. We assume too much. Because we do it every weekend, we assume everyone knows the process as intuitively as we do. But they don’t. Physical signs would be easier but they’re less effective, cost more money and lack the personal touch a smiling face & eye contact provides.
Check out this video produced by our Content Development team at LifeChurch.tv. Though I had nothing to do with the making of this video, as a Children’s Pastor I couldn’t be more thrilled to have it. It specifically walks a child through a simple, straight-forward presentation of the gospel. A great tool for any kids ministry and parent that desires to solidify this truth in their kids.
The video will soon be available at www.lifekids.tv.
If you’re a parent… watch this with your kids!!
If you’re a ministry leader… feel free to use this tool if it will benefit your ministry!!
Volunteer appreciation is something I believe you can do well on any sized budget. Particularly in this economic season. Over the past 9 years my team has used multiple methods appreciate our volunteers. Anything from exclusive t-shirts & coffee mugs to engraved Bibles. These are great gifts… and people truly appreciate them. However, the gift that seems to stick the most is the personal expression of thanks.
Written “Thank You”: Our mailboxes are filled with bills, form letters and junkmail. Imagine being surprised by a handwritten card that says “Thank You” for all you do. A reminder of how your contribution has significance. These small gestures are cheap, specific and more impactful than most realize. I’ve tossed out many of the appreciation trinkets I’ve received as a staff member. Yet I’ll never part with handwritten cards from my pastor, my peers or my volunteers. Their words mean more to me than they will ever know.
Spoken “Thank You”: The weekend is busy and you’re pulled in multiple directions. Yet stopping the chaos long enough to make eye contact and express a sincere Thank You goes further than we think. It can’t be flippant. It can’t be rushed. It must be sincere. And it must come from you.
Token “Thank You”: Low budget trinkets are a fun way to make someone feel special. They’re even more fun when they’re specific. In LifeKIDS, we have our volunteers complete an “In the Spotlight” form. Click here to see. With these questions we harvest the most specific ways to express gratitude toward our volunteers. Anything from surprising them with a Snickers bar, giving them a side-hug, to mapping out a great walking trail simply b/c that’s how they love to spend their time.
There are so many creative ways to express gratitude and appreciation toward our volunteers. What would you add to this list?
Focus on their skills: You’ve got to care more about their skills than your ‘holes’. We know how many volunteers we need and where we need them. But the truth is… if all we focus on is plugging holes we risk forcing a square peg into a round hole. It’s great to start with filling holes, but have a system in place to reevaluate the placement at a later time. Ultimately you want a volunteer to thrive in their role. They won’t thrive if they’re not using their skills.
Focus on their heart: Care more about their spiritual development than your schedule. If you find your volunteer needs time for spiritual development don’t hesitate. Be the first to recognize and recommend they take time away to focus on their relationship with Jesus. Send them out for a specified number of weeks. Commit to follow up. Then do it! Give them tools, resources and your blessing.
Focus on their ministry: Plugging into your ministry just might ‘light’ somebody up. They might get excited about ministry to kids. That’s the goal, right? And sometimes it reaches a point where it’s time for your volunteer to move. Sometimes a vision for ministry wells up in them that is outside of your scope of ministry. That’s okay. In fact… that amazing! Allow this to be the positive, encouraging, challenging process that it should be. Allow this to be the reason volunteers exit your ministry. Not because you want another opening to fill! But because you know the value in pursuing exactly what God has placed before us. Bless them. Equip them. Encourage them. Then step back and allow room for God to do what only He can do.
Holding our volunteer teams with a tight-fisted grip restricts growth. Hold them with open hands knowing we serve a God of abundance. God cares more than you do about your ministry. He desires to work boldly in and through your volunteers. Allow Him room to show up and work in ways you don’t expect.
For a small group leader, one of the most fluent languages is sarcasm. As I recently transitioned roles within our church, one of our leaders asked students what they like about me. Most of the responses included something about how I pick on the students. I pick on them because I know they will laugh. […]
Of course, I can add another student to my few. Sure, I’d love to come meet her. After two steps, I pull up short. With my heart in my throat and my mind racing, I realize I have no idea what to do next. Waiting at the door is a lovely girl with special needs […]
How can you tell if a preschooler is having a good time when you walk into a room? You only need to look around. Is the room a complete and utter mess? If so, good job! They are having fun! There are few moments of greater joy for a child than unrestrained play. Put a child in […]
I met my few at the end of their sophomore year. One of my first weeks was the same evening our ministry celebrated graduating seniors. That night, the seniors were invited to share what they’d learned during high school. A common thread was the importance of sticking together—even when you get to junior year, life […]
It’s tough for parents to grasp what happens in the hour kids in our groups on a Sunday morning. We can’t blame parents for this though. They’ve got a heck of a lot going on. And from what I’ve seen, parents don’t really understand what we do as small group leaders . . . until […]
It’s a typical Wednesday night. You have your small group of six students, your Bible, and the Lead Small app cued up. You are unstoppable. You are a small group leader. You are about to lead the best middle school small group discussion there ever was. You do happy crappys. You run through all of […]