Cram in as much mindless activity as possible.
High-capacity volunteers know that if their room isn't fun, kids
won't come. But they also don't want it to be all about empty
activities. To shake these volunteers, pack the weekend schedule
with random activities, playground time, snack time,
travel-to-another-area time, introductions, icebreakers, free play,
and burn-off-energy, busy-work options. Never have an activity tie
in to the actual Bible lesson. Cram the schedule with activities
designed to kill time-not explore the Word of God.
Don't encourage volunteers personally.
There's one rule when it comes to encouragement: Stick with the
bare minimum. Hang up a generic sign on your office door once a
quarter thanking "all the volunteers" for their work in children's
ministry. Rely on a once-per-year appreciation event that only 25
percent of your volunteers attend. Some pesky volunteers will
actually serve for months at a time if they just get a pat on the
back and a softly-spoken, "Thanks for all you do." Never, under any
circumstances, say a personal thank you. And resist all temptation
to give a high-five, pat on the back, or fist bump.
Use parents. A lot.
A dirty little secret among children's ministers is that
we know how guilty most parents secretly feel when they don't serve
in children's ministry. Capitalize on this guilt. Press these
parents to sign up right away-and then squeeze them for all they're
worth. Tell them that being parents of a 3-year-old automatically
makes them experts at teaching 17 of them. They'll only last a few
weeks. For best results, don't cast your recruiting net much wider
than the pool of parents.
Don't give honest feedback.
All volunteers really want to know is that you're aware
they showed up at some point and didn't cause problems. A cursory,
"I see you made it" (even if they're 10 minutes late) will suffice.
Don't bother with giving people the "truth in love" about how they
could grow as kidmin volunteers. They don't really want to