Matthew 9:38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Every leader in ministry needs a team. Lone ranger ministry only works for so long. But even though most ministers know this, they have a hard time getting people to sign up to volunteer. Most ministers who do it all, don’t bother to find qualified volunteers because over the years they have decided it is easier just to do it themselves.
Here are 12 ways to build a children’s ministry team that will launch your ministry to a new level.
Pray for workers. This is where we need to start since Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers.
Give testimonies to what God is doing. Ministries that are struggling rarely get people signing up to help. It is the ministries where every one is excited about what God is doing that gets the workers they need. Take every opportunity to share about the great things God is doing instead of begging for workers and asking for prayer because you’re barely making it. Other than prayer, this is the best way to get people on board.
Make a list of workers. If you had three times the workers you needed, what would you do with them? Make a list of jobs workers can do so when they come to you, you can assign them a task. These lists won’t only include the big jobs. You might need someone to bake cupcakes for parties and social events or sew costumes for musicals. Don’t leave any job, no matter how small, off your list.
Ask God to show you who to approach. Now that you have a list, ask God who should fill the slots on that list.
Have qualifications. Nobody wants to work in a ministry where the only qualification is to be a live body. That doesn’t make anyone feel valued or important.
Go to people. Once you notice someone you want on your team, go to that person. Advertising in the bulletin or from the pulpit doesn’t work near as well as a one-on-one approach.
When you go to that person, approach him this way. “I’ve been looking for someone to teach the three-year-old class. As you know, the three year old class is growing, and they need the right person to show them how much God loves them. As I was praying, I thought of you. Would you consider praying about this and maybe even visiting the class. We’ll get together in a couple of weeks, and if you’re interested, I’ll talk to you more about training.”
In this approach, you are making the person feel valued for being asked. You are letting her know that she has time to consider this. And you let him know that there will be training.
Assign a time limit. People are more likely to sign up if they know there is a time limit to their commitment. You could ask someone to sign up for six months. When the six months is up, he can re-evaluate if he wants to stay in this ministry, take some time off, or be involved in another ministry.
Work toward have substitutes for every class. These substitutes will have a lesson with resources prepared to teach at a moment’s notice. This takes the pressure off regular volunteers who might want to take a Sunday off occasionally and will relieve pressure on you if someone calls off sick.
Do training. People are more likely to volunteer if they have training. This link has different options for training.
Develop Relationships. Developing relationships with members of the congregation is the best way to recruit volunteers. Nobody wants to work under someone who only talks to them when they want something. If every time you talk to someone, that person tries to avoid you because he knows you are going to ask him to do something, that is a clear sign you need to work on this.
Build a planning team. As you recruit workers, start looking for leaders who can serve on your planning team. These people don’t necessarily have to be working in another area to be on your team. They might work in other ministries. But they might have a perspective that will help you.
Mentor volunteers. You always want to be mentoring volunteers to take your place. You never know what the future holds, and if you miss this step, if you leave at some point in the future, everything you’ve done will be dismantled. That is the sad statistic of most ministries.
Don’t pressure people to stay. If someone wants to quit, it is appropriate to ask why and to ask them to give you a two week notice, but don’t ever beg them to stay. If you do, you will live to regret it.
For more info about recruiting volunteers, read Children’s Ministry Volunteers That Stick.