Five Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer


Volunteer roles aren’t interesting or meaningful.

If there’s one thing we need to know about people, it’s this —

Most people want to make a difference with their life, time, and treasures.

People want to leave a mark and have an impact that’s profound, and hopefully even eternal.

However, if you were to take a peek into a children’s classroom on Sunday morning, you’d see Goldfish and Cheerios, toy cars and Play-doh, music videos and Bible stories, craft sticks and crayons, but not necessarily the kind of impact that would make a person want to sign on the dotted line and give up their free time and energy.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! The impact is there. It just takes a trained eye to notice it.

All those little, seemingly insignificant things — from changing a babies diaper to playing a silly game, from giving a high-five to praying for a 5-year-old’s hamster — do add up, and work together to strengthen the faith of little disciples.

BUT… not everyone has the X-ray vision it takes to see how in the long run all these playful, childish activities help children grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord.

That’s why as a children’s ministry leader, one of your primary jobs is to keep the vision and mission on the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Here’s just one example to illustrate how I tried to drive home the mission of our children’s ministry.

I created a set of seven EXPLORE KIDMIN posters and service slides, and placed them in every place allowable — anywhere where I could catch people’s attention.

Here are just three of the seven posters.

They were on the walls in the halls.

They were at every entrance.

They were on bathroom mirrors and bathroom doors, inside the stalls.

They were on classroom doors.

They were in a pre-service and post-service slide reel.

They were the first thing you noticed when you stepped inside the church and the last thing you saw when you left.

Notice that I wasn’t inviting people to sign up to serve.

I was simply trying to make them curious enough to EXPLORE, find out more information about the children’s ministry.

Also, notice the prominent place given to the vision/mission statements such as:




Do you see what I was doing there?

I was communicating the heartbeat of the children’s ministry.

I was explaining what a meaningful and purposeful impact a person would have if they join the children’s ministry.

By the way, if you like this vision casting campaign, I created a fully customizable kit just for you.

You can download all seven posters and slides >> here, and start creating your own vision-infused materials right away.

Remember, if you are a children’s ministry leader, it’s your job to recruit people to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, even though it may look very different in the children’s ministry context.

You are not inviting people to fill a spot.

You’re inviting them to join God in His wonderful, but many times unseen work in children’s lives.

Your language should reflect that.

Since it’s too easy to minimize the significance of what’s happening in the children’s spaces and look for the impact elsewhere, we have to work extra hard at positioning ourselves as a ministry, and not a childcare or entertainment facility.

SOLUTION: Gather stories of how God is working in and through the children of your church. Find a way to celebrate these stories publicly so that people start associating children’s ministry with God’s power and presence and not just fun and games.

For an example of a recruitment campaign that connects people to God’s heartbeat for children, check out The Secret Life of Kids.

Take a quick look at this pre-service slide.

  • Can you spot a bite-sized action step?

  • How about a compelling vision statement?

Click >> here to see the entire campaign.

Children’s ministry is a coloring book, and volunteers are the crayons.

They bring colors of truth, friendship, and laughter, and make the love of Jesus tangible to kids.

However, in a lot of churches, many of the “crayons” are missing.

Why do YOU think that is?

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment with what other reasons for not volunteering you would add to the list.

This article originally appeared here.