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A Few Good Kidmen

Matt Gergeni

When approaching possible male volunteers, it's important to remember that men and women are wired differently. Don't spend a lot of time highlighting the plight of "hurting" kids or sharing a sad story that's meant to tug at their heartstrings. Men are much more responsive when presented with details regarding potential results, adventure, and excitement. Stick to the metaphor used by Podles and remember that men want to score touchdowns…not punt.

Ask men to lead your boys' groups and classes. Today, more than at any point in the past, there's an incredible need for men to come alongside the boys in your church and provide them with mentors and positive male role models.

An unprecedented number of boys come from fatherless homes and desperately need to be in the presence of positive male role models--even among Christian homes. While many incredible female volunteers have traditionally filled the role of Sunday school teachers -- accounting for nearly 80 percent of midweek program participants and comprising the majority of church employees (except for ordained clergy) -- only men can be male role models.

While men who've reached retirement age may provide a great resource for your ministry, don't overlook the positive impact high school guys can have in the lives of younger boys. Give every age segment of men equal consideration and effort as you work to increase the male presence on your team.

Have men coach and shepherd men. Let men train and mentor other men in your ministry. Build a community of men who serve together and challenge each other to grow. Remember, men will attract other men to your program.

You'll also find that many guys will shy away from serving in more traditional roles, such as song leaders or in the nursery. However, men often find it less intimidating to serve when given an opportunity to work closely with other guys leading games, teaching, or providing crowd control at a large event.

Grow your ministry's masculine side. Traditionally, many children's curricula, activities, and programs were designed to appeal to, and be presented by, women. This often left men feeling uncomfortable, out of place, and out of touch with their church's children's program.

To increase your chances of getting more men to commit to volunteering, beef up the masculine side of your ministry by adding masculine pronouns when mentioning children's volunteers and programs in church publications. When you have a volunteer appreciation event, avoid the flowers and tea cups. Instead, use a sports theme or serve guy food such as burgers instead of finger foods.

A great way to determine whether your children's ministry is inviting to male volunteers is to ask men from your church who aren't currently active in your ministry to come in and evaluate your program. The suggestions and ideas they help generate may be invaluable as you reach out to other men in your church.

Create volunteer positions that men naturally want to be part of. As a rule, men generally despise passive roles. If you create positions where guys can get plugged in and feel they're having a tangible, positive impact, you're creating opportunities for greater male involvement.

A great way to do this is to assign new volunteers to positions where they have "to-do" roles, such as on security teams that monitor for disciplinary or safety issues or on your check-in team. Positions such as these can give new recruits a chance to get a feel for your ministry without throwing them into the spotlight or asking them to be directly responsible for groups of kids.

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