Never recruit a volunteer to complete a task. Rather, offer gifted believers opportunities to use their spiritual gifts. By using the gift-based method of recruiting, you can help people achieve God's call on their lives through the use of their spiritual gifts: the teacher teaches during the Large Group Program rather than taking attendance; the person with the gift of helps serves with the administration of the program and never has to lead the Large Group Program. Every spiritual gift is honored and used for the sake of the kids.

Placing volunteers according to their giftedness and interests, not the ministry's needs, requires trust that God will bring the right people to meet your needs. Keep praying, claim God's promises, and be patient. God will provide for your needs.

The actual seeking out of volunteers is not just the job of the Director, but of every Leadership Team member. Remember that it is a team ministry, even in recruiting volunteers. However, by recruiting volunteers according to their spiritual gifts and talents, recruitment becomes an easier and more natural process.

Steps for recruiting include:

  1. Recruit from the vision of your ministry. Start by raising the value of children's ministry inside your church. Share stories in church services about life change in children or have volunteers share stories about how their lives have been changed. Serving in children's ministry is an opportunity to honor God—not a duty or a task.

  2. Pull together a team of recruiters who are passionate about children and understand that the children's ministry belongs to the volunteers. These vision-casters have a strong platform from which to recruit because they are living in their giftedness.

  3. Determine the roles for which you need to recruit volunteers. Know how your team is going to be organized. Develop job descriptions that include time commitments and spiritual gifts needed.

  4. Develop a strategy for making the needs known to the congregation. Include a strategy for using "parent helpers" (those individuals who can only serve periodically) or "student helpers" (those individuals who are still in school and need supervision as they serve children).

  5. Develop a ministry application for volunteers to complete.

  6. Create opportunities for potential volunteers to discover their spiritual gifts. Consider teaching The Network Course (available through the Willow Creek Association 800-570-9812) or other spiritual gift assessment course.

  7. Determine how the volunteers will be interviewed and how a security check will be completed. We all know too well of incidences where children are harmed by adults within an organized group. Our churches are no exception and it is our responsibility to make sure that the kids who come to learn about God at church are well protected. See "Child Protection."

  8. Be prepared with a care structure for the volunteers. Plan how the volunteers will be connected as a team. Relationship building is not only an essential element for kids, but invaluable for adults, too. (For help in creating a care structure for your volunteers, consider ordering the audio tape, "Building Community with a Team of Volunteers" by calling 800-570-9812.)

  9. Once volunteers begin stepping forward, communicate to them that what they are doing, no matter how small, really counts in a big way to the kids and God. People volunteer because they want to feel cared for, not used. They want to contribute to impacting the lives of children.
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