The 5 Elements of Children's Ministries That Produce Great Volunteer Leaders

Is your children's ministry producing volunteers or leaders of volunteers?  There is a difference.  A big difference.  Any ministry that wants to sustain substantial growth must produce volunteers who have the ability to lead other volunteers.  Without that layer in place, the ministry will plateau.

I am thinking about one of the fastest growing churches in America.  If you were to visit their children's ministry this weekend, you would not see a large paid staff.  But what you would see is a large group of volunteer leaders who are running the ministry.  As I've studied their ministry and other ministries who produce great volunteer leaders, I've noted 5 key elements that make this happen.  Let's take a look at them.

Key #1 - There is a clear, compelling vision that volunteers want to give their life to.  This is the foundation that produces great volunteer leaders.  People long to give their life to something bigger than themselves.  Big vision produces big volunteer leaders.  When you see a ministry that has great volunteer leaders, you can be sure it's because they are following hard after a big vision. 

Key #2 - High expectations are in place.  Volunteers have clear job descriptions and are held accountable to those expectations.  One important thing to note - the accountability is driven by relationship rather than rules.  The relationship is what earns the leader the right to hold the volunteer accountable to the rules.
Key #3 - The line between staff and volunteers has been removed or greatly diminished.  Walk into the children's ministry area and you'll have a hard time distinguishing between staff and volunteers.  Rather than the paid staff running around trying to do everything, you'll find them in the shadows coaching volunteer leaders who are making the ministry happen.

Key #4 - There is a culture of personal growth.  Volunteers are invested in.  Volunteers are provided with feedback.  Volunteers are challenged.  Volunteers are given growth tools.  Volunteers are provided with clear next steps they can take to continue to expand their volunteer leadership. 

Key #5 -  Volunteers are empowered and released to do ministry.  This runs closely with #3.  Volunteers are doing jobs that would be occupied by staff in your average church.  This is because the staff has empowered volunteers and released them to own the ministry.  Staff are working themselves out of a job by empowering volunteers to run the ministry. 

I know many of you who are reading this are volunteer leaders.  I'd like to challenge you to continue to grow and increase your kingdom responsibilities.  You are the key to seeing the ministry you serve in move forward.  Perhaps God is calling you to more influence.  Perhaps He is calling you to have a greater impact by investing yourself in other volunteers.  Perhaps He is calling you to multiply yourself through those you empower.  Let your children's ministry leader know this week you are ready step into the next level of leadership God is calling you to.