Helping Volunteers See the Long-term Impact of Serving

At times, all of us lose sight of the long-term impact that we can have by serving in children's ministry.  Why do we lose sight?  Because often we can't see the long-term impact yet.  Much of children's ministry is serving in faith that what we are doing in kids' lives will make a difference not only now, but later in their life as well.

Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."

We hope that the Bible lessons we share with preschoolers will come to mind when they are making decisions one day as adults.  We hope that the Bible verses we help elementary kids memorize will guide them when they are in college one day.  We hope that the small group discussions we have with pre-teens will help them walk with Jesus in high school.  We hope that the prayers we pray over babies in the nursery will be heard and help them know Jesus when they are older.  We hope the time we invest in parents will help them guide their children spiritually as they grow up.

As the verse says, we must have faith that God is using our service to make a long-term impact in kids' lives.  It's important to remind yourself and your volunteers of this on a regular basis.  If you are only looking short-term, you can get discouraged.  Especially on those days when it seems the kids are not listening and every take home paper you passed out is blowing across the parking lot.

Here are a few ways you can help volunteers see the long-term impact of serving in children's ministry.

Share stories of long-term impact.  Have volunteers think back about the people who invested in them years ago and the impact it is having in their life now.  If you have volunteers who have been serving for many years, have them share stories of kids they invested in who are now grown up and serving Jesus.  Even better, have some of those "grown up kids" come and share the long-term impact it's had in their life. 

Remind them of God's promises.  Here are some great verses to share with your volunteers about the promise of long-term impact.

It is the same with my Word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  Isaiah 55:11

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  John 15:1

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.  Matthew 19:29 

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.  I Corinthians 15:58

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9
Show them the opportunity they have to leave a legacy.  It's important to help volunteers see that serving in children's ministry is an opportunity to leave a true legacy that will outlive them.  People want to know that they made a difference in the world.  Children's ministry is the best place to do this.

You can get lots of more great ideas and insight about leading and encouraging volunteers in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  It has been called "the best book ever written on the subject of leading volunteers."  It's available now at this link for only $12 paperback and $7 ebook.

Don't give up.  Keep serving.  Keep encouraging.  Believe by faith that it will make a long-term impact.