We all know it. We all say it. Volunteers are the backbone of our ministries. In the middle of our fast-paced, Sunday-is-coming grind, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of just how much they’re contributing to the ministry machine. But really, every volunteer team you’re training is a reflection of the organizational structure of the church-at-large.
Let’s think about it. Often lead pastors employ a staff to lead different aspects of church operations. Worship, discipleship, connections, kids and student programming, A/V technicians, administration, and more. Hiring highly qualified leaders who clearly know their purpose in these positions is what often helps a church run smoothly. And most of the time, they’re getting paid for it.
Then we, as family ministry leaders, are challenged to build that exact same organizational structure. But with volunteers! We recruit, train, and celebrate our own teams of worship leaders, small group leaders, greeters, tech, supply prep, and more. To put it simply, your ministry is a church within a church. Fueled not by hired staff, but by passionate volunteers who love kids and students. (And unlimited coffee and donuts.) If the org chart is similar, why not take other cues from the staffing process?
One way to begin is to be just as diligent about outlining the right qualifications of each potential volunteer as we are about each potential employee. For starters, take the time to define the win for every job in your ministry clearly. Here’s how.
1. Believe in every volunteer job.
When building healthy ministry teams, believing that every single volunteer role is a significant piece of the puzzle is so important. Your job is to find the perfect person for every open role in your ministry and make them come alive! In the theatre world, they say there are no small parts, only small actors. Similarly, there are no small volunteer jobs, only volunteers with no vision. It’s up to you to help every volunteer see and believe in the significance of the part they play in God’s big story.
2. Connect every volunteer job.
Understanding how every role is connected to the other can be one of the most exciting things about volunteering in your ministry. It removes barriers, builds trust, and motivates each volunteer to think with the end in mind. For example, if every volunteer understands that the overall win in your ministry is to connect every child to a consistent small group leader, then your . . .
- Supply Prep Leader cares more about ensuring there are enough toilet paper tubes so every child feels included.
- Greeter goes above and beyond to help an anxious kid feel welcome.
- Communicator’s aim is not just to engage every child, but to build the kind of tension that will lead to important small group conversations.
3. Redefine every volunteer job.
When you’ve defined the win for every volunteer, this might impact who you’re looking for, what their qualifications are, what you expect from them, and who they report to. As we’ve all heard before, clear is kind. So be sure to take the time to redefine each role in light of the win and ask yourself these questions.
- Why is this role important?
- What characteristics does the right volunteer need to embody?
- How will they be trained?
- What will this volunteer do, and how often?
- How (and how often) will they be supported and celebrated?
- Who will they report to?
Need a headstart? Our team has put together our top Kids and Student Ministry Job Descriptions just for leaders like you. With all the changes you’ve had to navigate in recent years, we decided to consult with some of our favorite ministry experts. We’ve pulled together brand new, relevant job descriptions that are fully customizable and give you the language you need to define the win for your volunteers clearly and succinctly. Download them today at orangeleaders.com/resources.