The Single Greatest Recruitment Tool for Kidmin

Good now that I have your attention. Of all the ministries in the church, the most volunteer intensive ministry by far is children’s ministry. No matter the size of church you are in if you do kids ministry you never have enough volunteers. If you have done kids ministry for any length of time you will be able to say like Paul “I know what it’s like to be abased and to abound.” These past few months I have lost several volunteers. In my early years of kids ministry, this would have set me to breathing into a brown paper sack to avoid hyperventilation. Recruitment is a way of life for kidmin leaders. I am always looking for tools and tips to do it better.

If you have been to any conference for kids ministry people you will always see breakouts on how to recruit, train, and retain volunteers. They are helpful and instructive I have been to many that have helped think how I structure the ministry I am the chief steward of. For a few years when I was much younger and breathing into a brown paper sack more often than I would like to admit I used to take volunteers leaving as a personal thing. They weren’t moving on because life changed for them. In my mind, they were leaving because of me. While that may be true for some it was not true of all. Growing older in age and deeper in the gospel I have come to the understanding that I am a steward the ministry I lead is not mine I have influence by the grace of God alone for the Glory of God alone.

With that being said I will now give you the secret sauce of volunteer recruitment that I have painstakingly discovered over 20 years of ministry.

Prayer.

There it is my friends. Prayer. I have found prayer to be my best most reliable tool for recruiting people to help in all our children’s ministry. There have been so many times that I was overwhelmed by the empty spaces on my volunteer management system and people would call me or seek me out and tell me they want to help in kids ministry. There have been other times that in times of prayer God will drop names in my mind to ask to get involved. Other times God uses people like my wife to give me suggestions. All those things have this in common they are an answer to prayers I have prayed that God would help me see the unconnected, that He would send people my way who I don’t even ask.

Prayer is one of the most overlooked tools in the arsenal of any Christ follower. Prayer is powerful because we believe the God of Heaven hears and acts when we pray. Prayer is powerful because it reminds us that we are wholly dependent on the grace and the mercy of God in every action we take. So kidmin leader take heart, pray for you have a Father who loves you more than you will ever know who is working all things together for you good and his glory.

I leave you with these powerful words about prayer taken from the great Bishop J.C. Ryle and his short and convicting book on prayer.

Nothing seems to be too great, too hard, or too difficult for prayer to do. It has obtained things that seemed impossible and out of reach. It has won victories over fire, air, earth, and water.

Prayer opened the Red Sea. Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from heaven. Prayer made the sun stand still. Prayer brought fire from the sky on Elijah’s sacrifice. Prayer turned the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. Prayer overthrew the army of Sennacherib.

Well said Mary Queen of Scots, “I fear John Knox’s prayers more than an army of ten thousand men.” Prayer has healed the sick. Prayer has raised the dead. Prayer has procured the conversion of souls. “The child of many prayers,” said an old Christian to Augustine’s mother, “will never perish.” Prayer, pains, and faith can do anything.

J.C. Ryle

New Kids Pastor Toolbox

Where you need to start before you start

One of the reasons I blog here is to be to others what I wish someone was to me when I started. One of the things that would have helped me when I started was knowing where to start. So this post is sort of beginners toolbox for anyone who is new, just starting or about to start in kids or youth ministry. Hope these are helpful to you or to someone you know.

1. Producteev You need a to-do app you can trust that has the flexibility, that is collaborative and free. Preducteev does that all and some.

2. Read Beat the Clock – Drucker said it best.

Everything requires time. It is the one truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.

Jim Wideman’s book on time is a must read for every new kids pastor.

(to see the rest select “continue reading” below)

Leading Volunteers 101

lifeway kids ministry conference

The Lifeway Kids Ministry Conference is officially underway. Really enjoying meeting lots of new people. This is my first time to come to this conference. Love how each conference has it’s own personality. The opening session was both funny and engaging. Really enjoyed it.

I had the opportunity to do a pre-con breakout with my good friend and fellow blogger Gina Mcclain. We talked about The WHY of ministry, Creating a culture, Structure, and leading your volunteer spiritually.

Here is the prezi of our breakout.

Why volunteers don’t attend your meetings.

Have you ever asked yourself why no one ever comes to your training meetings? Have you ever bought 200 bagels and 5 boxes of Joe in preparation for 100% attendance by your volunteer teams? Only to have 185 bagels left over. I see that hand and that hand belongs to me.

What do we do? We blame the people we invited we blame the methods we used to get the people out, and even sometimes the donuts, but rarely do we look at the content of the meeting itself.

In my experience most meetings for volunteers are held because of the accumulation of important information that needs to be shared. So you call everyone out to the church, on a Saturday for a three hour meeting on diaper changing policy.

The first big mistake we make is we think people care as much about information as we do. They don’t.

If you want people to attend your meetings. Here is what you need to do.

1. Start on time end on time – value their time.
2. 30% Fellowship/Relationship
3. 60% Inspiration/Vision/Values
4. 10% Information – Give people information other ways – email, facebook, blogs.
5. Connect meetings to things they are already attending
6. Most leaders want to grow make your meeting about leadership growth not trivial facts.

If they know they are going to be poured into and challenged they will come back. Do them and your ministry a favor. Talk vision and values way more than you talk about putting stickers on freshly changed baby bums.

Is Kidmin Ameri-centric?

I got involved in this interesting conversation with a few children’s pastors online the other day and the topic of children’s ministry being Americentric came up. Basically why are there not more voices and resources coming from other parts of the globe.

There were a few theories that were tossed around many of them being about American Imperialism – I personally don’t understand how you can Imperialize culture? No one is putting a gun to the head of some kid in Korea saying wear these Nikes or else.

The answer lies more in what we are not doing rather than what we are doing. I believe there are a few reasons why do don’t hear from kids pastors from other countries as much as we should or as much as we need to.

1. Language – The language barrier is real and if you don’t speak english that is hard to overcome. I have met some amazing people in other countries doing some amazing thing the said truth is they have lots to teach us but we may never learn from what God has done and is doing in them because we don’t speak the same Language. We need to figure out how to solve this one.

2. The North American model of church – Another reason why there are more dominate voices in North America is because our model of church includes hiring fulltime multiple pastors for each church. In other countries from what I have read and seen the model is more volunteer driven. When your fulltime job is pastor you generally have more time to focus and specialize in ministry. When you are a volunteer between, work, family, church and personal pursuits few people who are volunteers spend that time networking and connecting with other kids people.

3. Lastly and most importantly – We focus much of our time on things that are not the most imporant thing. Most of the conversation is around activities, VBS, Camp, Check-in those are all great conversations to have but they remain very Americentric in my opinion. Unless they first come out of the conversation how can we effectively communicate the gospel to kids. I believe that if kidmin is Americentric it is because we are not focusing on the gospel enough. The gospel transformative it transcends culture. If you teach kids in the US or in Cambodia the one thing they have in common is they are all sinners in need of a savior. We need to talk about the gospel and how we connect that to our kids more than we talk about which VBS curriculum we are doing this summer. The more Christocentric we become the less Americentric we will be.