By Jana Magruder
If you have ever lead in kids ministry, then chances are strong you have struggled to train and retain volunteers. Notice I’ve lumped training and retaining together because I believe a well-trained volunteer is a retained volunteer. You cannot recruit someone, hand them a lesson plan, and expect them to last. As you lead and direct in your kids ministry, here are three ways to train and retain volunteers.
1. Maintain a servant leader mindset.
There are many things you do behind the scenes that no one will ever know about. (I used to sweep dead crickets before my volunteer teams arrived so no one would be grossed out and leave!) Keep this sacrificial mindset as you run countless errands to gather snacks and craft supplies, re-configure a shared space, make tons of copies every week, and much more. But remember to do it with a servant’s heart, knowing that you are serving your volunteers and leaders and setting them up for success in their roles.
2. Create a community with your kids ministry volunteers and leaders.
Ask volunteers and leaders to arrive early so you can pray together, for one another and for the kids and families in your ministry. Bring them breakfast or treat them to coffee or lunch. Get to know them and their families, and help them know each other. Community has staying power. The message you communicate is, “Let’s do this together.”
3. Provide excellent content.
Part of training volunteers is what you put in their hand or inbox before teaching. Quality curriculum will not only help children engage, but it also your leaders learn on the job. If they are learning and growing, then they are more likely to stay with you. In addition, host training events or meetings during times your people are already gathered, like a luncheon right after church. Provide food and childcare, and you have the opportunity to meet as a team to learn and grow together. Your job is to serve them, support them, and sustain them. Healthy volunteers make for a healthy kids ministry.