Break the Volunteer Cycle

I have had several different jobs, and with that several different types of bosses. One of my jobs, I worked at a daycare.  It was a well-respected daycare franchise, my bosses were very friendly and nice. But I only had a total of 2 hours of training, and by training, I mean they had me watch a video. Thankfully I have been around kid’s ministry my whole life, so I knew what I was doing. Yet, this franchise had very specific rules about how things were supposed to be done, that I was never fully trained on. I ended up quitting mainly because I was never properly trained.

One of my other jobs, I had an overabundance of training. At the time, I did not appreciate it. I had just graduated from college and was annoyed that I had to sit through two full weeks of classes to be trained on how to do my job. Looking back, I am so thankful for that training. I knew exactly what my bosses expected of me, I knew the materials, and what I needed to do, before I even started my job.

So how does this translate to KidMin? Well, I believe that one of our most important jobs is training our volunteers.

A couple of months ago I was irritated because I felt our KidMin had grown stagnant. I felt like I was the only one who cared if we had excellency. Then, I realized, I was not training my volunteers on what I expected to happen during our weekend services. My volunteers need to know what I expect of them. Also, I need them to hold me responsible if I am not getting them their lessons, materials, or other items for the weekend on time. So, what did I do?

I scheduled a leadership meeting and I apologized for not training or leading them effectively. I then proceeded to share with them that I am raising the bar, and I invited them to come along for the journey.

Let me tell you, our KidMin has raised the bar! We aren’t perfect, but we are ministering each weekend with excellence and that’s all I can ask.

I have made a check list for my new volunteers that I thought I would share it with you:

Check list for training new volunteers:

  1. Get their name and all necessary information.
    • Name
    • Birthday (to send happy birthday card)
    • Address (to send thank yours)
    • Phone number ( With a space for texting or calling preference) I have some volunteers who simply don’t read their texts, and I have some volunteers who never answer their phone. So, it is important to know this up front.
    • Facebook Name (Ask any person under 30 and they probably know their Facebook handle. If not it is simply their name as it appears on Social Media) They might have a different name for security reasons, or they might still have their maiden name. Be friends with your volunteers! This will allow you to get to know them a lot faster.
  1. Complete a background check. For our church, we do not make them a badge until they have a background completed. That way, our security and other volunteers know who can and cannot be back in the Kid Min.
  2. Have them meet you during a service time.
    • Give them a tour. This will allow you to show them where all of the things that they will need.
    • Have them sit through a service and watch. A good rule of thumb is to have them watch once, do it together once, then they will do it by themselves once.
    • Introduce them to a mentor. Have them watch this person and train with them. Ideally, this person will be doing the same job as them.
  3. Set them up on the schedule.
  4. Follow up. When they have been doing their job by themselves for about a month. Take them out to coffee, or give them a call and see how things are going. See if you can help them, or give them any clarity as to why you do things the way you do them. And most importantly, ask if they have any suggestions.
  5. This last step should be done on a regular basis, but send a thank you note. Let them know that you are thankful for them. Who doesn’t love getting a hand written note in the mail?

The bottom part is left blank so you can add other notes if you need to.

Once this is all filled out, keep this on record in your office.

What else needs to be on this list?


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