Every kids’ ministry program needs volunteers to run it. So where did all the volunteers go? Finding people who genuinely want to serve kids and teach them about the love of Christ is not as difficult as it seems. Successful recruitment starts with the right attitude. You’re helping people find a place in their church where they can serve the Lord. Now that’s an exciting endeavor! Try these tips for finding volunteers.
1. Pray for the volunteers that God would have you approach about serving in your ministry. Also ask potential leaders to pray about serving.
2. Create a vision statement to inspire and inform potential—and current—leaders. Include your ministry’s purpose, philosophy and expectations.
3. Plant seeds. Celebrate your current leaders in front of the congregation, parents and kids. Show lots of appreciation for your leaders and be sure everyone knows the impact they’re having on kids—others may want to be a part of what’s going on.
4. Make sure kids know what a wonderful opportunity serving in children’s ministry can be so they look forward to doing it when they’re old enough. Then recruit them! Teens make excellent assistant leaders and serving in ministry will give them the opportunity to practice their leadership skills.
5. Look beyond parents. While parents make great leaders, you can introduce other positive role models. For example, seniors have more discretionary time and can contribute skills and experience for leading your group or helping with projects or events. Singles are often looking for a deeper connection to the church, and involvement with a team of leaders is an attractive option. How about young couples and empty nesters? Couples are often eager for a ministry they can do together.
6. Look for “grads.” If your church has run your kids group for years, how many church members and young people were once participants? Set out to find them. They may be happy to give back.
7. Get referrals. Encourage leaders who will no longer be serving to recommend others they think can step in and fill their shoes.
8. Try social media. Consider putting your kids ministry on Facebook or Twitter. Invite leaders, pastoral staff, parents and others to become fans. Their “friends” will see they’re involved in your ministry and may want to investigate, especially if your ministry pops up as a suggestion on the Facebook page.
9. Network. Chances are your church has one or several individuals who are dependable, consistent volunteers. Equip them to spread the word about your group. Provide information and ideas. You could also pull together a recruitment committee.
10. Keep former leaders connected through volunteering for special events, field trips or other activities. When their circumstances change, they may be ready to become leaders again.
11. Advertise. Make the volunteer opportunities in your kids ministry easy to find by reserving space on your church’s website, in the bulletin and newsletter, and on a public bulletin board.
12. Involve the pastor. Your pastoral staff are key recruiters because people may be especially responsive to a call for service during a worship time. Have your pastor announce volunteer needs from the pulpit, pray for leaders during a service, deliver a sermon on the value of children and encourage church members to serve. Also ask your pastoral staff for referrals. Let potential volunteers know that the pastor recommended them. This helps people feel they can make a positive contribution.
13. Outline the job. Before you approach anyone, prepare a job description. Don’t gloss over responsibilities because you think someone might back off. Tell potential volunteers how much preparation time is involved and the expected responsibilities.
14. Recruit “helpers” and “volunteers.” Sometimes the word “leader” or “teacher” is intimidating. Some people are more comfortable with being a helper and then moving on to being a leader. Veteran leaders can assist the helpers gradually learn to prepare and lead various parts of the program.
15. Be positive. Negative recruitment techniques may “work,” but they don’t produce the enthusiasm you want from volunteers. Instead of saying, “I’ve asked 300 people already…” try, “We need someone with your creative ideas to help with….”
16. Recruit one-on-one, in a relaxed atmosphere. Take the potential leader out for coffee. Have sample curriculum available to review. Follow up with an email or call in a few days for an answer.