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Volunteers Speak Out

Sharyn Spradlin

Find out what captures and keeps volunteers with these exclusive survey results from Children's Ministry Magazine. Learn from real experts on volunteering -- volunteers themselves!


"Yes, is Michael there please?"


"Michael, this is Karen from Church on the Run. How are you this evening?"

"Fine. What can I do for you?"

"Michael, I'm working with our preschool department, and we're currently looking for a teacher for our 3- and 4-year-old class... "

Sound familiar? Perhaps you've been the person making a call like this. Your ministry is to identify and contact potential volunteers to ask them to get involved in ministering to children. You contact people and wonder what in the world you can do to get them to say yes. If only you could understand what goes on in a potential volunteer's mind as you're making the request.

What can you do to get volunteers to sign on? (Okay, let's just get it out in the open -- you can't get or keep volunteers -- only God can. But you can use methods to work hand in hand with God to invite people into a world-changing ministry to children. Now that that's clear, let's go on!) Almost all children's ministers wonder what they can do to ensure that volunteers stay around long enough to add more depth to their ministry-not to mention the fact that long-term volunteers make your job of recruiting easier.

One of the greatest challenges in children's ministry is to have the right people in the right place to accomplish the seemingly insurmountable task of ministering to children and families. Seminars and training sessions on recruiting are never lacking in attendance. Children's ministers quickly devour any opportunity to glean a new idea or innovative recruiting method. Jesus himself recognized that there weren't enough ministry recruits when he declared, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few" (Matthew 9:37). And his first solution to the problem was prayer!

If you oversee a team of volunteers, your ministry can appear to be the open door of opportunity or the revolving door of ministry entrances and exits.

Thanks to the 200 volunteers who responded to the Volunteers Speak Out survey in Children's Ministry Magazine, you can ensure that the door to your ministry is one that volunteers won't quickly exit. These 200 volunteers told us how they were recruited, how their children's ministry overseer supports them, changes they'd suggest to make their volunteer experience more enjoyable, and why they continue to serve children in their church. Read on to learn from the real experts on volunteering-volunteers themselves!

Recruiting That Works

If only there were a packaged recruiting formula that we could sell to children's ministers. We'd be rich overnight. The problem is, there isn't a formula, but there are distinct patterns that emerge from the survey responses.

Popping the Question -- The #1 recruiting method used to involve people in children's ministry is to simply ask. Because someone personally asked most of these volunteers, they got involved. Relationship was a key factor for our surveyed volunteers when being recruited for ministry to children. An inspiring 74 percent of the survey respondents said that they're serving as a result of conviction and/or because they were personally asked by someone with whom they already had an established connection or relationship.

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