Every ministry in your church (including yours) wants more volunteers. But we don’t always do a great job of communicating what we want them to do. Then, we get frustrated when they don’t do it. How can we break this cycle?
Here are four elements—4 R’s—to think through in helping your ministry communicate your expectations to potential volunteers so there’ll be less frustration and more participation.
Everything should come back to purpose. Why does this role exist? How does someone in this role make a difference? What value do they add in the overall mission of the ministry and church? The key is to keep it short and simple.
Here are a few examples from my setting.
- Care Leader: Minister to a group of volunteers and help gather new leaders for your team.
- New Family Guide: Help new families feel like family.
- Check-In: Greet families, answer questions, and assist with check-in and nametag printing.
- Bible Lesson Teacher: Communicate the passage and bottom line so it becomes unforgettable to a child.
- Ministry Team Leader: Lead a team of kids who serve other kids at our weekend services.
- Small Group Leader: Lead a group of 8-10 kids who feel cared for by you and connected to God and each other.
- Worship Leader: Lead kids in song with enthusiasm to worship God for who He is and what He has done.
- Special Needs Leader: Provide a safe, caring environment where children with special needs can learn about God’s love for them.
What does someone need to do in order to join your ministry? Clarifying these hoops will minimize frustration for potential leaders later. The steps should be specific, easy, obvious, and strategic. Here are some of the steps we ask volunteers to take at High Desert Church.
- Applicants must have been a member or a regular attendee of High Desert Church for at least 6 months.
- Applicants must attend and complete our church’s membership class.
- Applicants must complete and sign an application giving permission to check references and background information.
- Applicants will be checked under “Megan’s Law.” We will also be conducting personal reference checks.
- Applicants must attend a one-time orientation. No sign-up is needed.
- Applicants must attend an interview conducted by the director/coordinator they will serve under.
- Applicants must agree by signature that they understand and will abide by the Leadership Commitment.
I know this seems like a lot of steps. And really they kind of are. But for us, it helps to ensure the safety of our kids and the quality of the people who are ministering to them. You don’t have to use our steps, but it’s important to figure out what steps you do want people to take. If not, you risk losing potentially great volunteers because you weren’t clear about what you wanted.
Before someone joins your team the two of you should be on the same page about what’s expected of them. This is the “how” part of the job description. For every role there should be some kind of checklist of what they’ll need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Things to include in this section are: service times, meetings, preparation, and outside church time. Going over this BEFORE anyone starts will help to make sure no one gets blindsided about what’s coming up.
Job descriptions for paid positions include the rewards, but most volunteer ones don’t. I think it’s a good idea to include what someone is going to get out of serving on your team. This may sound a little too selfish for some, but there’s nothing wrong with letting potential volunteers know about some of the rewards they’ll get from serving. Most people who are interested in serving aren’t looking for something huge. Reminding them of the friendships that can be made, the fulfillment that can be had, and that their faith will grow as a result of being on your team will only help to encourage them to serve more.
Writing job descriptions for your paid and volunteer leaders probably isn’t why you got into ministry. I get it. But when you realize the benefits of clarifying what you need, communicating it upfront, and checking in to inspect what you expect, you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing it sooner.
Jeff has been a Children’s Pastor for over 11 years but his greatest accomplishment is being married to his amazing wife, Sarah, and being dad to the two best kids on the planet, Angela and Hayden. You can connect with him by subscribing to his blog at JeffMcClung.com or following him on Twitter @JeffMcClung.
The following is one sample job description from High Desert Church where Jeff serves. To see more samples of job descriptions for volunteers using this format visit http://jeffmcclung.com/free-stuff/.
Beach House Teacher Job Description
Communicate the Bible Story and virtue in creative and attention grabbing ways with practical application steps for kids to live out that week.
What a Win Looks Like:
Kids are engaged in the storytelling moment.
The teacher is able to deliver the lesson from memory.
The teacher articulates the key concepts from the script clearly and concisely.
Kids can articulate the Bottom Line by the end of Beach House.
Kids know the teacher by name.
Teachers are moving towards maturity in meaningful worship, relationships, and role.
Teachers are committed to being a positive role model. This responsibility applies to speech, actions, and dress.
Teachers have the spiritual gift of teaching.
Teachers are committed to being a positive role model. This applies to speech, actions, and dress.
Teachers must have a completed application on file.
Your Commitment to Us:
Serve one weekend a month for multiple Beach House services.
Arrive at the time designated by your coach and the service coordinator, prepared for the cue-to-cue rehearsal.
Gather with other teachers once a month as organized by your coach.
Participate in quarterly HDC Kids Leadership Community vision and training meetings.
Be available for a monthly contact (phone call, conversation) with your coach for training.
Utilize preparation time during the week prior to speaking.
Memorize the overall flow. It is not necessary to memorize the paragraph word for word. The key is to memorize the key concept of the paragraph so that you can deliver its meaning clearly and concisely.
We do ask that you memorize the Bottom Line and the Virtue word for word as they appear in the curriculum. These items appear in bold in the script.
Don’t just consider what you will say; think about how you will say it. Delivery pace, posture and movements, tone, and voice inflections can aid your delivery and make your presentation more engaging. Use your natural speaking voice (unless you are playing a character). Kids will respond to the real you.
Ask for and respond to coaching from your coach and service coordinator.
Greet kids as they arrive at Beach House. If possible, greet kids in the Welcome Areas before and after services. The more you engage with the kids, the more they will feel connected to you.
Make a committed effort to help bring new volunteers onto our team.
Our Commitment to You:
To seek God’s guidance with all decisions we make.
To pray for you each and every week.
To provide training so that you are adequately equipped to serve God in the capacity that He has called you.
To provide you with a clear vision for HDC’s Children’s Ministry and your role within that vision.
To consistently encourage you with our words and actions.
You will grow spiritually as you participate as an active volunteer.
You will experience the personal satisfaction of knowing you have done your best to share the love of Christ with a child and their family.
You will make an eternal impact in the lives of many children and families.
You will be able to develop meaningful relationships with other people as you serve together in a life-changing ministry.