Good, now that I have your attention. Of all the ministries in the church, the most volunteer intensive ministry by far is children’s ministry. No matter the size of church you are in, if you do kids ministry you never have enough volunteers. If you have done kids ministry for any length of time you will be able to say like Paul, “I know what it’s like to be abased and to abound.” These past few months I have lost several volunteers. In my early years of kids ministry, this would have set me to breathing into a brown paper sack to avoid hyperventilation. Recruitment is a way of life for kidmin leaders. I am always looking for tools and tips to do it better.
If you have been to any conference for kids ministry people you will always see breakouts on how to recruit, train and retain volunteers. They are helpful and instructive I have been to many that have helped think how I structure the ministry I am the chief steward of. For a few years when I was much younger and breathing into a brown paper sack more often than I would like to admit, I used to take volunteers leaving as a personal thing. They weren’t moving on because life changed for them. In my mind, they were leaving because of me. While that may be true for some it was not true of all. Growing older in age and deeper in the gospel, I have come to the understanding that I am a steward; the ministry I lead is not mine. I have influence by the grace of God alone for the Glory of God alone.
With that being said I will now give you the secret sauce of volunteer recruitment that I have painstakingly discovered over 20 years of ministry.
There it is, my friends. Prayer. I have found prayer to be my best most reliable tool for recruiting people to help in all our children’s ministry. There have been so many times that I was overwhelmed by the empty spaces on my volunteer management system, and people would call me or seek me out and tell me they want to help in kids ministry. There have been other times that in times of prayer God will drop names in my mind to ask to get involved. Other times God uses people like my wife to give me suggestions. All those things have this in common: They are an answer to prayers I have prayed that God would help me see the unconnected, that He would send people my way who I don’t even ask.
Prayer is one of the most overlooked tools in the arsenal of any Christ follower. Prayer is powerful because we believe the God of Heaven hears and acts when we pray. Prayer is powerful because it reminds us that we are wholly dependent on the grace and the mercy of God in every action we take. So kidmin leader, take heart, pray for you have a Father who loves you more than you will ever know who is working all things together for your good and his glory.
I leave you with these powerful words about prayer taken from the great Bishop J.C. Ryle and his short and convicting book on prayer.
Nothing seems to be too great, too hard or too difficult for prayer to do. It has obtained things that seemed impossible and out of reach. It has won victories over fire, air, earth and water.
Prayer opened the Red Sea. Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from heaven. Prayer made the sun stand still. Prayer brought fire from the sky on Elijah’s sacrifice. Prayer turned the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. Prayer overthrew the army of Sennacherib.
Well said Mary Queen of Scots, “I fear John Knox’s prayers more than an army of ten thousand men.” Prayer has healed the sick. Prayer has raised the dead. Prayer has procured the conversion of souls. “The child of many prayers,” said an old Christian to Augustine’s mother, “will never perish.” Prayer, pains and faith can do anything.
This article originally appeared here.