by Gina McClain
Trust is the key commodity in kids’ ministry that’s in constant exchange between parents and ministry leaders/volunteers. Each weekend as I walk the halls of my kidmin environments, I watch as parents encounter the environment we’ve created for their kids and the volunteers we’ve recruited to shepherd their kids. It’s a constant learning experience for me as I’m reminded that each encounter, each interaction, either builds trust or tears it down.
It isn’t unusual for me to remind our volunteer team, “You are a primary trust builder in our ministry!”
No matter the size of our ministries, effectiveness depends heavily on our ability to work through volunteers. So, start today. Train your volunteers to build trust with your families. The more parents trust the volunteer, the more they trust you. The more they trust you, the more they trust the ministry you represent.
By leading your volunteers to steward and build upon the trust parents extend to them, the more of a voice your ministry has in the life of the family.
I like to train volunteers to look at these three key areas.
The Doorway – Always, always, always have someone at the door of the room greeting, remembering names, telling each parent something about their child. Creating that welcome, warm presence when kids arrive and the excited, engaging presence when they depart. Never miss an opportunity to connect with parents at the door. Although this isn’t a great time for chitchat, it’s the perfect chance for an encouraging smile.
The Lobby – I joke with my volunteers and invite them to “stalk” their parents in the lobby. Not in a creepy way. But with the intent of introducing themselves to new families, encouraging parents of irregulars to return soon, and simply touching base with families they see every week. It’s a great opportunity to find out what’s going on in their life Monday through Saturday. And with each interaction, the bond of trust increases.
The Living Room – There is only one unobtrusive way that I know of to get into the living room of our families that effectively builds loyalty and trust. Personal, hand-written cards. When a volunteer sends a note of encouragement to a child, it speaks volumes to the parent about how much your ministry cares for their child. When a volunteer sends a note of encouragement to the parent, the parent suddenly feels a sense of community and support.
There are so many levels of “win” when you teach your volunteers the impact they can make in building trust with the families that attend your church.
Gina is originally from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, she worked in International Banking before joining the staff of LifeChurch.tv in 1999 where she remained for over a decade. Currently, Gina is the children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gina is driven by the idea of equipping parents for the journey of teaching their kids how to follow Christ. Based upon her experience as a mom, she identifies with the everyday challenges parents wade through. Gina and her husband, Kyle, have three kids, Keegan, Josie and Connor.