I wonder how God is using your volunteer team in His redemptive love story. As ministry leaders, we often excel at training our volunteers in processes, managing a small group, or using a curriculum. But how often do we train our teams to discover God’s purpose for them individually and as a community?
By focusing the training on God’s wonder, volunteers will better understand their purpose in His story. Training volunteers to grow in this perspective is an opportunity to lead intentionally, build deeper relationships, and acknowledge our dependence on God in the formation of tiny disciples.
The question then becomes, how do we do this? How do we train our volunteers with a focus on God’s wonder? We create rhythms and spaces for volunteers to wonder at God’s love for them and the ways He is using them. These rhythms create room for God to lead and the Holy Spirit to move.
As a result, volunteers become more confident leaders who understand their purpose in serving. They grow in awe and gratitude that God chooses them to participate in the pursuit of His creation. Here are 4 consistent rhythms to establish in order to train volunteers to wonder at God and their role in His story.
Sharing stories can be a powerful way to train volunteers to understand their purpose as a team. You may have your volunteers share their faith stories with each other. Or you may ask volunteers to simply share a moment when they saw God at work while they volunteered.
Even the simple act of sharing a story can draw a whole community to stand in awe of God. These moments help us acknowledge that God’s story changes every piece of our own.
Creating consistent rhythms of story sharing is key. In Scripture, we see God’s people being urged to “Remember the wonders He has done” (Psalm 105:5).
When we remember the good things God has done and is doing, we bring our focus and trust back to Jesus while we serve. As volunteers regularly participate in this, hearts will be filled with gratitude in serving a God who never stops renewing His creation.
In my own ministry context, I have seen a culture shift happen since beginning this rhythm. What once was a space consisting of long pauses and silences is now full of volunteers enthusiastically sharing. Hearing of partners in ministry witnessing God’s presence in their serving roles has created excitement around sharing.
Volunteers now come prepared to share these moments, and they look for God’s movement while they serve. As a ministry leader, I anticipate that you will stand in wonder of God while witnessing your volunteers’ stories encourage and resonate with each other.
What if we viewed onboarding new volunteers as an invitation for them to join a story with a greater purpose? If we want to create a culture of focusing on God’s wonder, then we must set the tone for this during our initial training with volunteers.
Investing time in knowing new volunteers’ stories and sharing God’s movement in your ministry will help align a volunteer’s heart with God’s as they come in to serve. Serving will be a wonder-filled experience when volunteers witness how God can use them to impact His Kingdom.
To support these training conversations, try asking questions that will lead a volunteer to wonder at how God might use them uniquely in ministry:
- “When you think about serving, what excites you?”
- “What do you do for fun?”
- “What gifts do you think God has given you, and how do you think He might want to use those gifts in children’s ministry?”
Explore Spiritual Gifts
As a ministry leader, you have the opportunity to call out gifts in your volunteers. You can provide opportunities to explore those gifts. When volunteers are trained to understand their gifts can be used by God in meaningful ways, they grow in wonder of how God will use them in His story.
Each time they serve, encourage them to seek to encourage and affirm one volunteer teammate. This is especially impactful if you have middle school and high school students on your volunteer teams.
I was once a high school volunteer myself. I still remember a fellow volunteer telling me, “You really connect with the kids naturally. It’s fun to watch you lead them!” Years later, God has used simple words like these to bring confidence in moments of doubt or insecurity.
Providing opportunities to explore spiritual gifts is another way to train volunteers to focus on God’s wonder. This can be a learning process of trial and error. The result will be volunteers who understand how their gifts can be used for God’s glory.
What a joyous image to think of those who serve as greeters praising God for the gift of hospitality He has given them. Or your large group storytellers praising God for the gifts of teaching and shepherding He is utilizing. When volunteers find themselves doing what they are uniquely gifted for, the only response is to worship God for the ways they have been created in His image.
If we want to create a culture that is wonder filled, we must practice this as leaders. Practicing moments of God-focused wonder involves stillness, presence, and taking our focus away from ourselves. These are all counter-cultural concepts, which means that in order to walk in a wonder-filled culture, strong leadership is needed.
One way to create this space for yourself is to sit and reflect for ten minutes after weekend services or programs. In those ten minutes, it’s helpful to think about who you witnessed using their gifts when serving. Reflect on the God stories and sightings that were shared.
Think about where you witnessed answers to prayer, joyful worship, curious questions, and community being built. Then, pray with gratitude for the ways you have witnessed God’s story in your midst. Respond by encouraging volunteers via text/call/letter and sharing your praise with them.
In all of these things, God is pursuing your faith community. And He is using you and your volunteers in His story. As you train volunteers to focus on God’s Wonder, may you grow in trust and rest in your Father who is always working for you and for the kids you lead.