I still believe there are no part time leaders in ministry. If I know you, you are ALL in with more than 20 hours of commitment in what you you do. If only there were someone else to lend with the limited time you have. You want to help both your team and your parents WIN!
A brand new tool might be your new BFF! Affordable for all church budgets and sizes and models. Seriously, this is quite a piece of work! Take a moment to see how you can use this tool Orange has developed to help you expand your hours. It doesn’t matter what curriculum you use in your ministry area. This is to help YOU and your team win and simply work smarter! This tool even has a weekly to do list to help you win as you do ministry. Be inspired and fueled with the resources. Check out GoWeekly.com created with YOU the ministry leader in mind.
Re Think Your Handouts
A new day has dawned for the church handout paper. The name says it all. Hand “outs” not Hand “in’s. Years ago the odds of a child coming every Sunday to church was in fact a possibility. Back then, volunteers might ask to return a handout for a prize or a star. Those days are gone. Stop! The average full time attendance for a family is 2 x weeks a month. Custody issues are as high as 40% in your ministry so many kids can’t be there each week. With that in mind, you’ve got to re-think the strategy of a paper handout. It is simply a Cue for parents (like a baton hand off in a team relay) to know what was covered in their child’s ministry area. It’s a tool for parents to continue conversations as they do life.
What’s driving parents today? Life. Work. Finances. Pressure. Relationships. Wait, that seems like the same things as 50 years ago! Yes, parents today deal with a lot of the same issues as generations past. What’s in their heart? Love for their kids. I believe all parents want the best for their kids. Like generations past, someone at church took the time to give parents a prompt to talk more too. I say we give the copy machine a rest. It’s been through a lot in the past 50 years.
Let’s re-think about HOW we HANDOUT. You want impact. Think about HOW it’s delivered. For most paper handouts, they are lovely décor additions to their back seats where they stay. It’s time to re think how to get this info to parents to help them influence their child’s heart. Leaders today now have a gold mine of ways to share info with parents to be partners with them as families do life.
I give you the Smart phone. Send them an encouraging reminder as they start their week to look for great opportunities to talk about Sunday’s lesson. Text parents during the week with some encouragement! Share the Parent Cue app as resource for your families. Its an amazing tool for those who use Orange. Parents can have everything at their fingertips- wherever they go- to talk more about Sunday. Those moments can happen at any moment. That’s the beauty of the power of the smart phone. Parents can use the dentist office waiting room, or waiting to be seated in a restaurant, or bedtime and use the Parent Cue app. (Check out doministrybetter.com for some great tools to customize that app for your team to impact parents and equip your small group leaders).
Lean in to the influence of Social Media. Your parents know this and are savvy! Set up a monthly social media plan (on the the 252 Basics Blog each month) to help parents and kids. Texts can be a ministry tool once or twice a week. Use the tiles for you’re your church Facebook page. Super EZ. Super beneficial. Point parents to your church website. Is your site simple and EZ? Lose all the fancy wording about your ministry. Focus on impact as they visit your site. And post quick helpful info please for those busy parents. . Post handouts and devotionals there each week. Gather practical helps and ideas right where they are in the pressures of parenting. That’s partnership. That’s Handouts 2.0
Are you part time as a ministry leader? I was for a season. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to be a part time ministry leader when my kids were younger. There are a lot of ministry leaders juggling work/home. But I’ve come to a conclusion. For those passionate to reach kids, there’s really no such thing as part time. You eat, breath and think ministry.
You take things home. You wake up at night thinking how to make a lesson plan even better. You go to a store and see an item that you could use in your small group time. You strive to grow your volunteer team. You send texts, notes and pray for team members. My hunch is that most of this isn’t done while at church. You search for insights to help improve and develop yourself as a leader. You are nothing short of full time in the effort you make as you do ministry part time.
Here’s the key to keep before you. You have a great King you report to who equips you to do much more than you thought In fact, you can do ALL things through Him (Phil 4:13) All things includes ministry too. It’s all His anyway. All your gifts, strengths and leadership. Draw your strength from Him. Stay close in prayer. And never stop striving to grow as you lead.
Ministry Leaders know that Easter weekend requires all hands on deck. Kids are pumped about the day’s plans. Parents are planning the food fest following church and joining relatives for more fun. And I know as a leader you have the challenges of volunteer schedule conflicts regarding their own family travels and plans. You may even be planning your own family event of Easter at your place! My pulse is increasing as I write this just thinking about it. I recall the frenzy the week prior both as a Mom of 4, and a leader of CM.
If you’re not careful the day will get away from you. I recall as a ministry leader thinking late one Easter Sunday evening that I had pretty much lost the meaning personally with all that was really mean. I had gone through the motions. With God’s help all was done on the list (and none perished). But I totally was void of personally taking time to say thank you to my Resurrected Savior. I believe it happens to way more of us that we’d like to admit. I call it the “So busy serving we forget what the serve is about” blues song. It will wear you out and drain your joy faster than anything.
Smart leaders who carve out personal time to say thanks and rejoice at what the Cross means regarding Easter will have longevity. I’d recommend doing this before Easter. Make a date with God. Maybe it’s Good Friday. May its great Saturday. Maybe it’s early Easter morning, but make a date and purpose to be still. The Hebrew word Selah means to pause and calmly think about in Psalms. It’s great advice thousands of years old, but in 2014 for a Ministry leader heading in to Easter it can be a breath of saving grace- the Cross kind you need to do Easter as a ministry leader. It’s all His in the first place. Draw your strength from the Master to serve families as your church. Happy Easter.
Do you need volunteers? Welcome to Children’s Ministry leadership. I work with church leaders everyday. I’ve never heard one mention to me that they have enough volunteers. Never. Mega church to home church models. The one thing they have in common is the need for volunteers.
Here are a few helpful ideas to consider:
Ask with Vision
It’s not a one time a year vision (yuck!) No, it’s just not a cross it off the list vision share Sunday. It’s the daily vision that comes from your senior pastor on down about serving. It filters through your church. There’s nothing like it. God using you to serve others. It’s in everyone’s DNA (how cool is that?!) And it’s vital to our growth as a Christ follower. Be that CM leader who runs with that baton and shares vision for kids and parents of what God has in mind for families at every opportunity. Look for ways to help connect the power of using one’s gifts and serving kids in that vision. The books Playing for Keeps and Lead Small by Reggie Joiner are great tools to use to consider key things that matter , and how a volunteer can impact a child’s world. I highly recommend these two reads!
Ask without Apology
I’m pretty sure the disciples were busy guys. We are today too. Everyone is busy. But don’t apologize for asking a busy person serve with you. Ask with compelling vision- through stories from volunteers and parents help people see the WHY and WHAT in serving. Stories matter. It makes the connection. Do you share great stories of what’s happening in your ministry with your parents? Parent win stories? Compelling vision to busy people allows you to ask BIG asks. I believe there is something deep inside people to want to be used and add value. Put volunteers in the roles they are designed to serve in. (YOU as a leader must find out what the sweet spot is) and they will serve with a smile. Don’t apologize for asking busy people to get in the game of serving. They are awesome at what they do.
Tap on the Shoulder
One volunteer asking another person to serve has been one of the biggest accounts of wins from leaders I speak with. One person sees gifts in another person, taps them on the shoulder and does a personal invite. They drop phrases like “This is so life giving. If I can do it, you can do it.” Personal serving stories from one to another wins!
Start encouraging your current volunteers to tap a shoulder. Challenge them to share their serve story. Be sure and tap on teens shoulders. They are gold! They need to be serving and learning their gifts and how God wants to use them now, not later. Don’t be the church that holds back teens from serving. Disciple them. Include them. They are much cooler than you and relate to kids even better!
Different Levels for Different Serves for Volunteers
If you want to impact kids, you want consistent leaders. Stop the weekly change of a person leading a small group. That’s just a small group with a person in it. Discipleship is relationship building is at the heart of leading a small group. It takes a consistent leader. Consistent people as your live story teller for large group creates relationships. Carve out those key serve positions as more than monthly serves. By all means use a once a month or occasional volunteer in other capacities, but some roles won’t fit because of how vitally important they are for a consistent leader. Don’t compromise.
Growing volunteers is always on your plate as a CM leader. Try adding the above criteria as you attract more volunteers to serve It can make a difference!