10 Ways to Support Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of children's ministry.  Without them, there would be no children's ministry.  

This means it is crucial that you effectively support volunteers. Here are 10 ways you can do this.

Communication.  Keep volunteers in the loop. Communicate with them weekly through email, text, Facebook, phone calls, etc. 

Remember this...

You can't keep volunteers in the dark during the week and then expect them to shine on Sunday.

Have their materials ready as early as possible.  Get the curriculum lessons in their hands at least a month ahead of time.  This will enable them to be prepared in advance. If the curriculum calls for specific materials, help get that ready if they don't have time to do so.

Yes...most volunteers prepare the week of the lesson. But getting the materials in their hands weeks ahead of time will give you the opportunity to show them how to prepare gradually instead of just the night before or at the stop lights on the way to church.

Pray for them.  Put volunteers on your prayer list.  Ask them how you can pray for them. Pray for them weekly.  Pray for their prayer requests.  Pray that God will use them in a great way.  Pray for God to give them strength, wisdom and passion.  Help volunteers grasp this...

Nothing of eternal value happens without prayer.

Encourage them.  Use your words to lift them up.  Show them how God is using them.  Remind them of this promise...

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Thank them for serving.  Each week look them in the eyes and say "thank you for serving and making a difference." Write at least 2-3 thank you notes each week. 

Develop them.  We are called to equip volunteers for the work of the ministry.  Be intentional about investing in volunteers.  Challenge them.  Stretch them.  Push them out of their comfort zone.  Help them grow as leaders and Christ-followers.  As they develop and are faithful, entrust them with more responsibility.

Adult worship service.  Make sure volunteers are able to attend the adult worship service.  Make it a requirement.  If you only have one service, then here are some examples of helping volunteers get into the adult service.

  • serve once a month and then attend adult worship service 3 weeks a month
  • serve an entire month and then attend adult worship service for 2 months

Share the victories with them.  Volunteers want to know that they are making a difference.  Share the stories of life change with them.  Invite them to have a part in children and families who are being baptized.  Show them how God is using them. 

This is why they are serving and this is how you "pay" them. 

Maintain good ratios.  Set volunteers up for success by keeping ratios in good order.  If you want to see an example of good ratios, you can see it at this link.  Good ratios will keep your volunteers happy.  It's not fair to place a volunteer in a room with 20 preschoolers with little to no help. 

Spend time with them outside of serving.  Relationships is why volunteers stay.  Build your relationship with volunteers by doing things together outside of Sunday morning.  Have them over for a meal.  Go out for dinner with them.  Have a cookout for all the volunteers.  Let the "agenda" be having fun. 

Your turn. What are some ways you support your volunteers? Share your ideas and insight in the comment section below.