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Volunteers All Dried Up?

Cara Martens
Cara Martens Friday June 25, 2010
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During the summer, there’s a drought in churches everywhere. The volunteer pool just seems to dry up! It’s not just in your ministry. How about we share some of our more creative ideas on how to make it through the next few weeks? I know you feel like you’re in the hot seat– short on leaders and unsure how many kids will show up.

Want to get kids begging the adults in their life to serve? I once ordered a blow-up submarine ball pit and put it out in a central area with sign up sheets. The ball pit started out empty- but every time a parent signed up to sub, they wrote their child’s name on a ball and dropped it in. At the beginning of every service in front of all the kids, I drew out a ball (like a raffle) and gave away things kids value– like Chuck E Cheese coins and Sonic or McDonald’s gift cards. It was funny to see parents’ faces as their kids dragged them over and explained why they should help out. It worked! What else have you tried to get the word out and participation up?

Please keep in mind this was only ever my short-term, quick fix. I was also actively vision-casting for consistent leaders in the fall. One of the best new books on what really motivates us is “Drive” by Daniel Pink. Rewards like the ones above are limited; they won’t last. But research shows that giving people autonomy (choice), mastery (training) and purpose (bigger story) does. Here’s a great video with many of the main concepts from the book.

Cara Martens can’t help but read, write and dream, so becoming the 252 Basics Creative Director and main researcher for all things Orange is a perfect fit. She taught for a decade in schools and led teams in creating experiences for the church. Cara and her husband, Kevin, are schooled daily by her five- and eight-year-olds on how kids learn best.