Several years ago, my team and I arrived at a frustrating
crossroads regarding volunteers. It wasn't about a numbers
shortage, really-we had lots of people serving at vari...
Recently I had the privilege of teaching about the time Jesus
healed the blind man from John 9. While there are several ways we
could've explained or even demonstrated the S...
It can happen to the best of us. Pressure and stress can consume
the lives of ministry leaders. The heat builds and builds until
exhaustion and burnout set in. How is it tha...
You're winding down after the busy holiday season and enjoying a
bit of a lull in your ministry when the phone rings. It's one of
your preschool volunteers. Casual chitchat ...
Something borrowed, but nothing blue! Check out these 20
volunteer leadership tips from us to keep from being "blue" in your
During the first 20 years of Childr...
Practical, innovative ways to BEEF UP the male
presence on your kidmin team...
From the earliest days of his ministry, Jesus recognized the
importance of enlisting th...
Many churches struggle
with finding volunteers for children's ministry during Christmas
Eve services. Use these ideas when you're in a pinch for volunteers
at one of the bu...
Share a light-hearted moment of joy
and discovery with your volunteers this Christmas. You'll need a
small matchbox stuffed completely with tiny items such as a staple,
Your team won't want to miss
your meetings with these fun and creative
Ahhh...training meetings. You plan. You show up early. You wait.
You watch the clock. ...
The economy's tight and you need to
say "thank you" to your amazing team of volunteers. Here are 14
ways to do it with style--and without busting your
Have you ever felt like you were
trapped in a revolving door when it comes to recruiting?
Just when you begin to feel you finally have enough volunteers,
When you're in search of volunteers
for your ministry, it's easy to feel alone in your plight. The
needs are often many; the solutions seemingly few. But the fact is,
Don't do ministry alone!
Tap the creative genius of a diverse (and possibly unlikely) mix of
people, and your ministry will reap the
The head of maintenance fr...
In a recruiting rut? Join our
conversation with veteran recruiters to discover their secrets for
effective recruiting that stands the test of
It's crunch time, fol...
The nationwide study Grading Grown-Ups shows that adults
care about kids, but they aren't doing what they know is important.
You can help them.
Why is volunteer recruitme...
We had a Valentine breakfast to honor our volunteers in February
with the theme "Touching Children's Hearts." We decorated the
tables with red and pink tablecloths, lace doi...
Team teaching is half the work, double the fun. It's
giving students a fuller picture because you literally have two
painters. Where one leaves an empty canvas, the other ca...
Supplies: You'll need three Bibles, rubber
bands, paper, and pens.
Use this active devotion with your team as part of the
team building process
Maintaining the fabric of your volunteers' spiritual
A beautiful tapestry is so well-made that rather than looking at
the fabric, one sees only the woven images ...
Have you noticed the increased number of sandwich boards
directing you to the newest church in your community? Does it seem
that the collection of door hangers inviting you ...
The "bookend" generations can
be your very best volunteers -- if you know how to manage
We're sitting on an untapped gold mine of volunteers: those just
On the Spot
Say: "Did you know that according to Barna
Research Group, most people who believe in Christ as their Savior,
do so before age 12?" Give each person a 3x5 car...
Empowering your volunteers to
step out and take risks can mean great rewards for your
As the young white-tailed doe timidly steps from the
protection of the...
Your guide to alternative
service opportunities for volunteers who don't fit the
Samantha is a young, single mom who began attending your church two
Children's ministry volunteers are loving, caring people who
are...leaving? As much as we strive to recruit and keep them,
volunteers all too often make the decision to leav...
On my desk I keep a paper heart with a handwritten note from a
third-grader thanking me for being a center helper. Every time I
see it, my heart warms as I recall the experi...
Do-it-yourself strategies on building value
for your volunteer teams -- straight from the Carpenter.
Have you ever wondered what ministry would be like with a
What Will It Take To Fix Your Ministry?
Considering that we live in a day of instant information and
rapidly changing technology, life can get complicated.
Spend time with children's ministry leaders these days
and one of the topics of conversation is sure to be ministry to
sixth-graders. What works with this unique age group?
You've scouted the best prospects for your volunteer positions,
you've made lists and organizational charts, you've created an
amazing recruiting campaign, and now you're re...
A Guide to Conducting Background Checks on Your
Jack Anderson (not his name) thought it could never happen -- at
least not at his church. The color drained ...
Summer is a great time to send home these wonderful
"Treat and Training" bags...
Personalize a gift bag for each person in your ministry. Then in
each bag, add a resource...
How to "speak the truth in love" when you'd rather run
the other way.
Wouldn't it be great if everyone just got along, no one ever got
mad, and children and adults did ex...
How to elevate your volunteers from "just helping out"
to leadership roles in your ministry.
Just uttering the words "we need leaders" in the church is
likely to send peo...
As you lead volunteers -- and especially in meeting
times -- use these types of questions from Meetings: Do's, Don'ts
and Donuts by Sharon Lippincott...
Jesus was the mas...
Ten eye-opening things actual
volunteers gripe about -- and how their complaints can make your
ministry better than ever...
Do you know how your volunteers really feel ab...
Have your team recruited, trained, organized, and
excited about all that God is going to do in the lives of children
Before you know it, school will be kicki...
Volunteer Appreciation Ideas: The best ways you can
affirm your volunteers -- according to actual
Tickets to a Christian concert
Gift cards for dinner ...
Beyond their ability to double as playground equipment,
a familiar teenage face can ease separation anxiety for young
When you think of teenagers in your chur...
Find volunteers in places you may've never looked
Some volunteer position matches seem to be obvious. We so easily
gravitate to schoolteachers to fill roles in ou...
Maybe training doesn't always need to be an event. Here
are ways to sneak in training when your volunteers least expect
You've just finished one of the greatest sum...
Getting volunteers to attend meetings can be a
challenge, but one you can overcome. Here are training events that
volunteers will love attending!
When volunteers sign...
Volunteers are looking for a leader with
Here's what I know about people: Give them a cause and a hero --
and they'll rally around them both. As a children'...
Wouldn't it be great if everyone just got along? It's
not a perfect world and sometimes you need to say hard things to
people-even in ministry. Here are tips for having diff...
Find out what captures and keeps volunteers with these
exclusive survey results from Children's Ministry Magazine. Learn
from real experts on volunteering -- volunteers
ministers share what really works when it comes to recruiting a
great volunteer team...
What if recruiting enough capable, eager volunteers for your
Volunteer Leadership Tips: Using winning sports
strategies to build a championship volunteer team.
Some ministries work like a track and field team -- lots of
October features National Sunday School Teacher
Appreciation Day and it's a great time to say thank you to your
To show your children's Sunday school te...
Create Horn of Plenty invitations. Sketch a horn on the cover
and fill it with the names of the people you'll appreciate.
Decorate placemats. Have each child illustrate ...
Confession time: Fantasy football is one of my guilty and more
nerdy pleasures. I'm a 37-year-old, mortgage-paying father of three
who loves nothing better at the end of...
My husband, Dan, is a humble guy. He's never been one to toot
his horn about his accomplishments or abilities. One afternoon I
received an official-looking letter from D...
10 unique ways to train your volunteers -- without
The last time you had a training meeting, how many seats were
empty? More than were filled? You may fee...
Your volunteers love to be affirmed, but many may prefer
simplicity when it comes to what really speaks to them. Consider
these tips for keeping your affirmations simple and...
Spring has sprung, and summer's standing
by--are you ready?
Use our handy emergency-preparedness guide to ensure your summer
ministry plans stay on track.
3 Ways to ...
At Saturn Road Church of Christ in Garland, Texas, these church
folks know how to bring up babies right, and they've done it for
more than 35 years...
It's Sunday morning...
My experiences as a child in church weren't positive. My family
didn't encourage me to follow Jesus as a child -- but I knew I
needed him. So I regularly walked down the roa...
Use this article with your teachers to help them develop
critical thinking skills in children.
Scott memorized "Love thy neighbor as thyself" in Sunday school.
He can quo...
How to disciple volunteers as they disciple
"All power has been given to me in heaven and earth, therefore
go and fill vacant volunteer slots..."
If you're like us, you have a lot of moms who volunteer to teach
in your Sunday school and give all they can in their ministries at
home and church. They need your love, sup...
Great news! We scouted the best ways to get temporary summer
volunteers -- tried and true ways to maximize all the human
resources surrounding you.
Use these tips from children's ministers who have
successful summer Sunday schools.
School's almost out! But does that mean summer Sunday school
should be out a...
Simple strategies to get men more
involved in your ministry.
The Bible says fathers should teach children the truths of God, so
why are so few men working in Sunday ...
How to successfully involve parents in children's
Today's parents. They're a rare breed-a hard-to-understand
breed. They're returning to the church, but they...
Try these no-fail tips to get teachers to training
"Why do we need another meeting? I'm just too busy."
"I've been teaching Sunday school for years. Why shoul...
The Stamp of
After 30 years in ministry, I've gained immense respect for
volunteers. Curriculum and room setup aren't nearly as important as
the people who are ...
by Karen Kogler, director of volunteer equipping at St.
Peter Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois, volunteer
expert with 35 years in ministry, and founder of thee...
I recently sent an audiotape titled What My Parents Taught
Me About Leadership...Never Say "I Quit" to our children's
ministry volunteers. I remember my mom continuously tel...
Teachers come in all personality types, from diverse
backgrounds, and with very different styles. I've seen a quiet,
middle-aged, balding man in polyester pants, who at firs...
How young volunteers can take
your ministry to the next level.
When kids finally graduate to a church's junior or senior high
program, the last thing they want to do is ...
Does reliance on spiritual
gifting assessments for volunteers hinder or help God's call? Two
experts weigh in.
Spiritual gifting assessments have long been the go-to too...
Your teacher training session is just around the corner, and
you're staring at a list of volunteers -- a mixture of people from
various backgrounds. You have Rookies, Vetera...
Whenever we think of such growth, it seems the most likely place
for such things to happen is during an extended retreat, camp, or
wilderness trip, but who has time with a p...
No ministry is immune to challenges. And when working with
volunteers, challenges can multiply if not dealt with.
When I reviewed these three volunteer ministry dilemmas, ...
Take a deep breath and slay those boogeyman issues in
your recruiting closet
I cracked an egg to create an omelette. As if the yolk were
trying to escape, it fled the...
Instead of having one big year-end appreciation luncheon for our
volunteers, we have several Mugs 'n' Muffins appreciation open
houses during the school year. We schedule ea...
After you've done all you can to equip an ineffective
volunteer, have you got what it takes to move -- or remove -- the
person if necessary?
Fire a volunteer? You've got ...
Your teaching partner is late. Again. Three times in five weeks.
She acknowledges her tardiness with a dismissive joke. You resent
having to set up the classroom and welcome...
In defense of the church, it must be said that many ministries
have hurdles that other volunteer organizations don't have.
Circumstances in our church world can make it toug...
Key teamwork principles to help your ministry ride the
waves of change
When the waters are rough and a change of direction is required,
you quickly realize the need for a...
Every leader who communicates with volunteers knows how
frustrating it is to create a wonderful schedule, print it, and
mail it…only to find out later that some volunteers l...
Let's face it, the most dreaded part of vacation Bible school
and almost every other children's program is recruiting volunteers!
Whether your program is large or small,...
Time or no time, budget or no
budget -- we've got great ways to give heartfelt thanks to your
volunteers this Christmas.
This time of year, everyone is long on holiday s...
Here's a quick quiz for you as a children's ministry leader:
Think of the top 10 important tasks or responsibilities that are
part of your children's ministry. Volunteer rec...
Picture the perfect leader. Got that person in mind?
What does he or she look like? Does your perfect leader have the
charisma of a Kennedy, good looks worthy of People Maga...
Combine teacher appreciation with quick training, using
Set the Mood
Decorate the tables with wrapping paper, bows, and
curling ribbon. Make a special plac...
Protect your children and your church from wolves in
It's the universal cry of the children's ministry leader: "We
need volunteers, we need volunteers, w...
12 ways to re-energize weary
It's spring -- the season when we rejoice in the promise of new
life and refreshed spirits. So why do your volunteers seem
Follow this leader for five weeks as
she struggles with confronting volunteers.
If only volunteer management were as easy as it
sounds. But few leaders relish the tough s...
The editors of Rev! magazine sat down with Christine
Yount Jones, executive editor of Children's Ministry Magazine and
Rick Lawrence, executive editor of Group Magazine, t...
Follow this new children's ministry
leader as he tackles a serious need to double his volunteer
We can all relate to volunteer shortages -- for many children's
It's a cliché, but you get more bees with honey than with
vinegar. The same is true about volunteers. You'll attract more
volunteers with excitement, energy, creativity, and...
These 10 recruiting missteps
can cost you new volunteers. Here's how to avoid
Remember that person you had such a crush on in high school? Maybe
you flirted an...
Untitled DocumentIt's all in a day's work for this
children's ministry leader and volunteer on the same
Jenice Moore and Kim Ross. Both energetic women live in
These 10 recruiting missteps
can cost you new volunteers. Here's how to avoid
Remember that person you had such a crush on in high school? Maybe
you flirted and w...
How to keep from being singed when your critics
ignite a blaze.
"Maybe I'm not called to children's ministry after all."
"I've tried my best, but t...
Are you volunteer poor? These
debt-management principles can help you turn a shortfall into a
When I was a child, my mom frequently said I must've had a hole i...
Become fluent in the "love languages" so your volunteers
feel appreciated by you.
We asked our staff and Children's Ministry Magazine Live
presenters what their primary l...
Meet with your teaching staff to get the most out of this
1. Before the Meeting -- Two weeks before this
meeting, photocopy a "Parent Survey" for each child in y...
Loss and grief, just like joy and celebration, are part of life.
Throughout your years as a children's minister, you'll undoubtedly
cross paths with a tragedy involving one ...
If you have challenges getting
volunteers to attend training meetings, you're not alone. Borrow
these best practices for boosting your meeting attendance.
Create a comp...
Two veteran children's ministers sound off on the pros and
cons of rotating volunteers
Rotation: The Solution for Today's
by Selma Johnson
If someone had to...
7 characteristics that spell
the difference between good teachers and great
The teacher had obviously prepared her lesson
because it was full of ...
"Mommy, I want to arrest God for taking Daddy!" Words like this
are expressed by children daily. Every year roughly 2.3 million
people die in the United States; 16,000 are c...
Three-year-old Joseph Wallace had finally found a haven in his
foster home in Chicago. But the authorities took Joseph from his
foster home and returned him to his mother --...
David was once outgoing and happy, without a care in the world.
Now he's withdrawn and sad. Annie can't seem to calm herself. And
Steve is always on the verge of tears. ...
Curriculum publishers sell boxcar loads of printed pieces they
call teaching materials. Here's an example from a well-known
Christian publisher's fifth- and sixth-grade stud...
Albert Einstein said, "Knowledge is experience-everything else
is just information."
Nowhere is this more true than with children-and especially
children in cradle roll. ...
When new families try your church, they're often willing to park
quite a distance from the door or don't mind too much if the music
seems a little loud. But if their little ...
One of my deepest convictions about teaching is that it must be
learner-focused. I believe that's the biblical model. When Jesus
taught, he didn't throw a fast pitch of trut...
Someday, your name will be hailed as the one who
changed a life.
In the busyness of everyday ministry, it's easy to lose sight of
the eternal difference you're making on ...
One of my greatest surprises when asked to serve at my church
many years ago was that there were no prerequisites. I have been a
volunteer all my life, and have always been ...
No matter how much screening you do, you can never screen out
difficult people from your ministry. Because the church is a "grace
place," people come to your ministry wi...
Leaders who take time to contemplate themselves, their
experiences, and their relationships are more apt to remain fresh
and stable. Lessons learned, failures experienced, a...
Fill a zippered plastic bag with one each of the following
items: a rubber band, a tissue, a button, a toothpick, a bandage, a
Hershey's Kisses chocolate candy, a gold threa...
What's something we all have to do at one time or another even
though we'd rather not?
What's something we all should do at one time or another bu...
A ministry fair is a great way to reach potential volunteers in
your church. Hosting one can add an atmosphere of celebration to
your church and help people get excited abou...
You've heard it before: "I'm bored! I already know all
You've seen it before: Kids fidget, zone out, and harass others
-- or you.
You've felt it before: Gla...
77 tips for growing vital volunteers from fertile
Summer is no time to slack off on your recruiting. In fact,
summer can be one of your most productive seaso...
When volunteers quit, flake out, or just can't get
Confession time: Fantasy football is one of my guilty and more
nerdy pleasures. I'm a 37-year-old, mortgage-payi...
If no one's behind you, you may have a loyalty
More than 10 years ago I sat in a staff meeting ripe with tense
energy. The senior pastor lectured us --...
There he sat, under a broom tree (what exactly is a broom tree,
anyway?). He was beaten, battered…burned out! After all the great
victories and the shining moments of faith ...
The art of "selling" your volunteers on
Believe it or not, you're a salesperson for your ministry -- if
selling is defined as convincing. Think of everything y...
Quick tips to equip -- all you have to do is add
Instant messaging. Instant potatoes. Instant replays.
Since we live in an instant-everything culture, we'r...
Creative ways to get people off the bench and into your
"Play ball!" When the umpire calls out this familiar refrain,
everyone's in his or her place!...
Are people running from you in the church halls again? Before
you invest in a new box of Altoids, consider if your ministry
recruitment techniques are responsible for the co...
Historically, children's ministry has been predominantly staffed
by women. According to George Barna, "Women are almost twice as
likely as men" to teach Sunday school. But i...
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill
called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to
them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you ente...
Look for volunteers of all occupations.
Volunteers aren't all alike. Some have been trained to teach, many
have not. Some enjoy working personally with children, others
Well, maybe not quite a million, but here are oodles of quick
ideas that will help you celebrate your volunteers.
Give a gift certificate from a local restaurant.
Use this fun, unusual training event
to make a yearlong impact on your team of
It's time to kick off your year with a fantastic volunteer
training and affir...
Ask children's ministers what their top three ministry needs
are, and 99.9 percent will list volunteer recruitment as one of
those three needs. It's painfully difficult ...
Xers, like generations before us, need to serve because service
is the real, powerful expression of God's love to the world
As a member of Generation X, I'm concerned by m...
For 20 years Roger Mailand has been the minister of education
and youth at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Portage, Michigan. In
those 20 years, Roger has had very low volu...
"Therefore encourage one another, and build each other up, just
as in fact you are doing." --Thessalonians 5:11
Take this quiz
What item would you give a volunteer to e...
Many people will volunteer to help, but they don't understand
what kind of help is needed or what kids enjoy. So I've developed a
notebook for these people to look through f...
Are you effectively mentoring leaders to maximize your
Will your volunteers know how to carry on in your absence? Or
will programs fall apart and attendance dec...
"I learned about a dream-catcher today. If you have one by your
bed, it'll take all your bad dreams away," explained the
6-year-old, towheaded boy to his mother after Sunday...
9 reasons to fire a volunteer and how to do
After a month, it was apparent trouble was brewing in the
fourth-grade class. The teachers and students weren't getting
When it's time to confront.
What do you do, as a children's minister, when one of your
suggestions goes ignored? How should you react when a volunteer
says, "I've been a ...
If your volunteer staff seems like a group of misfits,
take another look at their personalities.
Six months ago, Holly asked Carol how she could help with the
Use these helpful tools to keep your teachers on
Are your teachers on track? If not, your entire program could
end up in a massive derailment. Use this 10-question ...
"The most important measure
of how good a game I played was how much better I'd made my
teammates play." -- Bill Russell
"Of all the things I've done,
the most vital...
Easy-to-prepare training meetings to equip your
children's ministry volunteer team to teach unforgettable
KNOW THE GOAL
Unite your children's ministry voluntee...
Use this devotion at a meeting of all your volunteer teachers
and helpers, including the "behind-the-scenes" heroes, to show just
how much God appreciates everything your vo...
Use this devotion at a volunteer training meeting to help
volunteer teachers get in touch with the fun of being a child and
to challenge them to be learners as well as teach...
Church membership. Churches that require their
volunteer teachers to be church members help to ensure that their
teachers believe what the church teaches. If you are unwilli...
What's the difference between training that inspires and
training that simply fills time? When volunteers are actively
involved in learning, they're enriched. When volunteer...
11 ways to recharge your volunteers' faith
Who is your primary ministry to -- children or volunteers? If
you truly want to multiply your ministry, you answered volunte...
What you can learn about children's ministry volunteer training
from Olympic athletes.
What would happen if athletes showed up at the Olympic Games
equipped the way child...
CHILDREN'S MINISTRY VOLUNTEERS APPRECIATION
To show our Children's Ministry volunteers that they're doing a
great job, we gave them a catered buffet dinner. We sen...
STRONG AS SAMSON-ITE
If your volunteers arrive with arm loads of supplies, give them
this back-saving tip. Use a portable luggage cart wheel rack to
Pray. Continue to ask God to supply the
volunteers you need. It's God's ministry, and ultimately he does
Spread the word. Talk to your pastor and other
Creative ways to let your wonderful volunteers know you
Your volunteers go above and beyond their calling by faithfully
serving -- often without anyone e...
How Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, is sculpting
one of the most dynamic volunteer programs and children's
ministries in America.
Potter's House church in Dallas, Texas...
Like water to a fish, affirmation is to volunteers. As
children's ministry leaders, we know that we need to say thank you
to our staff often and in creative ways. A note her...
You know Bertha. She's your third-grade Sunday school teacher, a
veteran of 10 years. She's reliable. But she's standing in the way
of effective ministry.
You and your o...
There's a training innovation on the horizon that'll
transform your ministry.
The number of volunteers has increased significantly over the past
decade, according to the...
Order a fine cup of coffee at a Starbucks and you can savor the
aroma, taste, and body of the coffee. Your senses awaken to a
subjective experience that brings you pleasure....
I can remember going to the doctor with a sore throat. The
doctor took a cotton swab, rubbed it along the back of my throat,
and then put the swab in a petri dish to grow a ...
1. Pray. Too often we receive not because we ask not! Pray about
your need, and get the entire congregation praying by giving them
prayer reminder cards.
2. Ask. Identify ...
A letter to my Sunday school
It's been over two decades since you taught me, and yet it only
seems like yesterday. It's strange how the years pa...
THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE OUT! But with volunteers,
you may only get one pitch at getting them to an orientation event.
DON'T STRIKE OUT! Here's how to hit a rip-roaring home...
Gracias! Dankeschon! In any language, these ideas
will help you express your gratitude to volunteers'
"Thanks" is such a simple word, and it comes in many forms -...
Find out why these volunteers at East Tulsa
Christian Church are so on fire.
1. I've never seen another group of people like this. I think God
has blessed this church tr...
A "no yawns" teacher-orientation scavenger hunt to
kick off the new year.
This fun scavenger hunt will orient your teachers and build
relationships as they work together...
Discover how you can get more training without ever
leaving your ministry.
You'd like to get more education, but there's no way you can move
to a college or seminary. Th...
Eunice Miller's 31 years in children's ministry have
borne abundant fruit in Fort Collins, Colorado.
After 31 years in the same house, Robert and Eunice Miller are
Christian education involves everyone: teachers, children,
parents, church leaders, and congregation members. Before you kick
off your new educational year, rededicate your ...
During Teacher Appreciation Month at our church, we recognized
the teachers for their sacrifice and dedication in meeting the
needs of our children. Each Sunday we surprised...
Conventional wisdom holds that stress doesn't begin before late
adolescence or early adulthood. Truth is, today's children are
unlike any generation before them. They're...
THANKSGIVING SONG: FIVE LITTLE
Preschoolers will enjoy this Thanksgiving song with motions,
sung to the tune of "Five Little Ducks." Another option is to use
Why Volunteers Quit...and
what to do about it.
John just filled the last Sunday school teacher slot. He heaves
a sigh of relief. Now he can sit back and relax.