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11 Proven Practices for Training Volunteers

training volunteers

I want to tell you about a lady named Sally. That is not her real name, as she wishes to remain anonymous.

However, what makes Sally unique is she, in my opinion, is the most effective volunteer at Fellowship Bible Church.

Sally leads a discipleship class of more than 30 fourth- and fifth-grade girls. This class was established because our leadership felt this was a pivotal time in the life of young girls and wanted to provide them a unique environment for spiritual growth.

Everything rises and falls on leadership, and this class has been a HUGE success and is wildly popular.

The girls can’t wait to get there each Sunday. I had to find out why.  Recently, I sat down with Sally in hopes of understanding her best practices. What I discovered needs to passed on to anyone in leadership.

Here were her thoughts:

Intentionality.

Sally has two objectives for her class. First, she desires to see the girls loving Jesus and knowing how special and how loved they are by Him. Secondly, God doesn’t play favorites, and He makes everyone feel like they are the most important person in the world. Following the example of Jesus, Sally attempts to make each child feel like they are the most important girl in the world.

Prayer.

Sally says, “Prayer is the foundation of every class. … It is a huge responsibility to get kids excited. You must empty yourself.” One of her specific prayers is that “I ask God for the key to every girl’s heart.”

Personal Growth.

As Sally told me, “You can’t give away what you do not have.” Sally is deeply committed to her personal relationship with Jesus and has a passion for His Word. This overflows to the girls in her class. She wants them to have their own encounter with God as well.

High Opinion Of Others.

Sally feels starting in fourth grade, young girls are at a place of taking ownership of their relationship with God.  This period in their life is especially true for girls raised in the church. Sally feels they are starting to develop the concept of what a real relationship is and are ready to begin seeing that relationship as vertical rather than horizontal.

Provide Meaningful Content.

As Christian leaders, we often default to not challenging young people with challenging biblical concepts. Sally feels this is a mistake. She says: “You must understand your audience, but don’t dumb it down. … Give them the real deal early on and God will water those seeds.” Sally adds: “They’re excited and hungry at this age. Don’t hold back.” A benefit of this approach is it creates great dialogue. The environment is safe and the girls feel they can ask anything.

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.