God has surrounded you with His wonder. Every week as you lead your children’s ministry teams, you are surrounded by His image-bearers who are loved, created for a purpose, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
These truths are easy to miss in the hustle of ministry. How can you be intentional about seeing and engaging the wonder within your volunteers?
God loves each of your volunteers and created them for a purpose. You can affirm these truths by ministering to your volunteers as individuals.
We become so busy that we think of volunteers as groups or names on a spreadsheet or spots to be filled. Your time is limited, but you can create systems in which each volunteer feels loved and valued.
Take your list of volunteers and divide it by 30. Put the names of a few volunteers on each day of the month. When that day comes along, take a few minutes to pray for those volunteers by name.
Send them a personalized note that lets them know you prayed for them and encourage them in God’s love. Send a text emphasizing the gifts of God you see in them.
Make sure that you have structured your ministry so that others share in the role of caring for volunteers. Aim to have a director or coach for every twelve volunteers. Equip these leaders to be more involved with volunteers, looking for weekly opportunities to check in and encourage them.
You can’t see everything that happens in every classroom, but by equipping other “eyes,” your volunteers can receive more consistent encouragement and feedback. Provide regular checkpoints or reviews when a volunteer in your ministry sits down with a leader to hear what they are doing well and to be coached on how to grow.
By investing individually in your volunteers, you can encourage them in the love and purpose of God. You will have opportunities to love them as Jesus does.
Let’s be honest, there are some Sundays when loving volunteers is tough. Between last-minute callouts and unexpected complaints, love on a Sunday morning can be a challenge. But, God has entrusted you with these volunteers and calls you to lead them with the love of Jesus.
What does that love look like? 1 Corinthians 13 is pretty clear. Love is patient. We understand that life gets in the way of service commitments sometimes, and we show grace when the call comes about the forgotten vacation or the sick child.
Love is kind. Even when we are stressed out on Sunday morning, we pause to speak kindly and seek to be friendly to those whom God has called to serve.
Love is not proud. We can love our volunteers by sometimes allowing them to help us and not being prideful in doing everything our own way.
It is not rude or demand its own way. We can love our volunteers by valuing their input and being flexible.
When we value volunteers’ input, we recognize that the Holy Spirit leads, encourages, and empowers them just like He does for us.
Seek opportunities for your volunteers to speak into the vision and direction of the ministry. And really listen. Not only will the Holy Spirit speak through them, but He will also help you discern how to utilize the feedback you are given.
Regular surveys, focus groups, or “town hall meetings” are all avenues that give volunteers a voice. Regularly communicate to your volunteers that you are always willing to listen.
You obviously can’t do everything that every person wants. That would not be good leadership. However, you also can’t assume that as the leader you see and know everything.
Consult opinions on potential changes, especially when the changes impact the area in which volunteers are serving. Never forget that your volunteers are in the trenches. Your ministry will be more effective when you listen to what the Holy Spirit is showing them.
God is moving in your volunteers. How can you collect the stories of what He is doing in their classrooms and their lives? Perhaps these stories come from the regular check-ins you or your leaders make.
Get in the habit of asking for specific stories of how your volunteers see God at work. In meetings, ask for volunteers to share wins and refuse to continue the meeting until you’ve heard at least five stories. Train your volunteers to look for and speak up about God’s wonder in their own ministries.
Once you know the stories, celebrate them. Share them with others. Include these God stories in your regular communication with your volunteers. Share them at meetings. Share them with your church staff.
Seek ways to share wins with the church as a whole. Equip your volunteers to share those stories. Create a culture that celebrates the wonder of God.
You have a lot to do. Lessons need to be prepared. Cabinets need to be stocked. Summer needs to be planned. All of those things are important.
But don’t let the tasks of ministry get in the way of truly enjoying the wonder of the incredible people God has created and empowered to serve alongside of you. Dwell in His wonder as you encourage that wonder in them.