I think if most of us are honest, the most valuable and important resources we have in kids ministry are our volunteers. We can have the most awesome ideas, put on the craziest events, and love ministering to kids more than anything in the world, but without volunteers, we simply cannot do what we do. We would completely burn out, and the kids would probably get tired of only seeing our faces and hearing our voices all the time.
With that being said, I thought that a kidmin volunteer series was in order. To start our series off right, I thought it would be good for all of us to sit down and really think about the qualities we want our kidmin volunteers to possess. As a staff, we have been working through John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In Chapter 9, he asks us to make a list of the top qualities we are looking for in the people on our teams, or in our case, kidmin volunteers. I found this extremely helpful. So, right now wherever you are, write down 5-10 qualities you ideally want your kidmin volunteers to possess. Got it? Here’s my top 6 qualities and why they are so important to me. I have also included a smattering of fun pictures of wonderful kidmin volunteers doing what they do best. Enjoy!
This feels like a pretty obvious choice for a quality we would want in our volunteers. I don’t think any of us would say, “I really wish my volunteers worked a little less hard.” However, being a hard worker is about putting in your best work and giving all your energy to the kids and families you are ministering to. Hard workers are supportive of the overall vision and leadership for your ministry. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t put in the work. Volunteers work hard when we give them positions and responsibilities that show we believe in them, and in turn they will believe in themselves.
2. Love kids
I have to admit that in my time as a Kid’s Pastor, I have been surprised by the amount of people who really do not love being around kids. I often hear things like, “kids just aren’t my calling,” or “I don’t feel like kid’s ministry is my area.” You definitely don’t have to have a calling to kid’s ministry or even completely understand why kids do the things they do in order to volunteer with them, but you’ll probably need to love them for your ministry to be effective. AVL (audio, video, lighting) or other behind the scenes aspects of the ministry may be a good place for those who are a little more unsure about the “kids” part of your ministry.
Committed volunteers can definitely come in different shapes and sizes. I have some volunteers who are very committed to serving the kids when they show up, but they aren’t extremely faithful. I have other volunteers who are so committed that if they didn’t show up for one service or event I would probably send out a search and rescue party for them because they always seem to be around. We must learn to accept that all of our volunteers will have different levels of commitment that they are willing to give. The hard part is learning what that commitment level is for each individual and harnessing it to it’s full potential.
This is the volunteer who doesn’t need a script or detailed instructions. They are able to jump right in and do an awesome job ministering to the kids without much preparation. These volunteers do not grow on trees, but I’m sure we all have at least a few people who come to mind when we think about this quality. Go-getters are particularly helpful when something goes wrong or slightly off the normal plan; they will be the first to come up with a quick fix, and you may never even notice there was a problem in the first place.
There are many talents that volunteers can possess that can be excessively helpful to your kid’s ministry. I have volunteers who are imaginative teachers, expressive small group leaders, and attentive technicians. We must observe our volunteers in action and ASK them what they love to do. We never know what talents are just waiting to be discovered in volunteers we already have serving in our ministries.
6. Goes the extra mile
Volunteers who go the extra mile are pretty easy to spot after they have been serving in your ministry for a while. These are the volunteers who reply to your emails, show up to almost everything, come up with ideas you never could have thought of on your own, and are willing to take on just about any position in your ministry. They just love to serve! You will learn to trust these volunteers with almost anything because you know they will go the extra mile to make it just as good, if not better, then you could have done it yourself.
John Maxwell says, “Believe it or not, who you attract is not determined by what you want. Its determined by who you are… who you are is who you attract.” I’m sure there are many, many more qualities that we could all list, but right now I want you to go back to that list of 5-10 qualities that you wrote down at the beginning of this post. If you haven’t made your list yet, do it now! Take a look at each quality you listed, and decide whether or not you possess that quality. The first step to attracting volunteers with the qualities on our lists is to make sure that we already possess these qualities as the leader of the ministry. Makes sense, right?
If you already embody the qualities you want, I want to challenge you to take it to the next level. Work towards attracting leaders who possess qualities that will balance out your weaknesses. It is much easier to attract volunteers who are similar to us, but we must be highly intentional about attracting volunteers who also possess qualities we do not.
I would love to hear the top 5-10 qualities you are looking for in your kid’s ministry volunteers, and why those qualities are so important to you.