As church leaders, we are called to equip “the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). However, when it comes to equipping volunteers to serve, there are three common responses among church leaders: the iron chef, Grandma, and a cake-in-a-box approach. Let’s consider the analogy of baking a cake and how each person responds.
First is the iron chef. An iron chef thinks that they are the sole person who can complete ministry tasks to their standard. Only they can put together the disparate ingredients of the complexity and chaos they are handed on a Sunday morning and bake a delicious cake.
Next is Grandma. Now Grandma knows how to make the cake, and we all love it. But the problem is she never takes the time to write down the recipe. She just does it herself time and time again because it’s so routine for her. She doesn’t pass along the knowledge and experience she has.
What we need is a cake-in-a-box approach. When you provide your volunteers with a boxed cake mix, you give them the step-by-step knowledge they need to serve well in their role. It’s then up to them to add two eggs, a cup of water, stir well, pour in a greased pan, and bake the cake for 35 minutes. The cake may not be as fancy as the iron chef’s or have the secret family recipe of Grandma, but it’s still delicious. And chances are, the more often they make it, the better the quality becomes.
So how can you simplify your ministry processes to a cake-in-the box approach? By creating weekly ministry checklists. When you simplify a ministry process by creating a checklist for your volunteers, you improve your ability to train and hand off ministry tasks to them. Equipped volunteers know what to do and how to do it. And the more often they do it, the better they become in their roles.
Without checklists, it’s difficult for us to hand off ministry responsibilities and even more difficult for our volunteers to know how to serve well in their role.
Take the time to write down the weekly ministry responsibilities for your volunteers. As you work through this task, identify the essential steps someone will need to follow to be sure ministry is accomplished week to week.
For example, weekly checklist items for kids ministry volunteers may include arriving 20 minutes before the group’s start time, gathering all necessary supplies for crafts or activities, and greeting children and families. Group time may include checklists like opening with a game, teaching a Bible study lesson, facilitating a craft or activity that emphasizes the Bible story, and providing a snack and restroom break. After the group time ends, the checklist could also include instructions for cleaning procedures, turning off lights, closing the classroom door, and returning unused supplies to the appropriate room or resource area.
Maybe you already have checklists for your ministry volunteers. Great! If so, now is a good time to review to be sure they are accurate and up to date.
We created a free ebook to help you onboard and train your new volunteers. You can download it here.