Children’s ministry is unique because we need the largest volunteer team in the church! You’ve got moms, dads, grandparents, young singles, teenagers, empty nesters, and everyone in between volunteering in your ministry. That’s a lot of super awesome people. Here are five ways to help them feel appreciated, loved, and cared for.
1. Be prepared. Volunteers will feel appreciated when you know what they need and you’re ready for them before they ask. Keep your supplies stocked. Pay close attention to things they might need for this next quarter that aren’t normally be in your resource room. Make sure they have their curriculum with plenty of lead-time. Make sure their room is clean and stocked as needed, their nametag lanyard isn’t broken and tied around their neck like a noose, and the coffee maker is warm when they arrive!
2. Write a note. Make it a habit once a week to write a handwritten note to a couple of volunteers. Note something you saw them doing recently that you appreciated or simply write that you’re glad they’re a part of the team. Handwritten notes carry a lot of weight, so don’t replace this with just a text or email. If you make this a weekly habit, all of your volunteers should get at least one or two notes each year!
3. Eat with them. Take a volunteer to lunch, or invite their whole family over to your house for dinner. Make this a regular habit. If you don’t have the budget, just ask if they want to join you for lunch on a Sunday after church, where it’s natural to go Dutch. You’ll develop deeper connections with your volunteers and you’ll have a shared story that extends beyond the walls of the church.
4. Make it fun to volunteer. Volunteering in children’s ministries should not be a job, but a privilege! You want your volunteers talking to other people in the church about how much they enjoy the world of kid min. Create a volunteer hang-out space with donuts and coffee where your volunteers can come early and get to know each other. Have an annual volunteer appreciation event that they look forward to because it’s fun! Surprise them with something special every once in a while, like a homemade breakfast on a Sunday, or pizza on a Wednesday night. Joke around in the halls. Put volunteers in places where they thrive. All of these things make it fun to volunteer!
5. Volunteer spotlight. Make your volunteers feel special by highlighting them through one of your communication outlets. Maybe there’s a place for this in your family worship service once a month, in your worship folder, or a newsletter. Perhaps it’s done through one of your ministry’s social media outlets. However you do it, show their picture, talk about where they volunteer, how long they’ve been doing it, and some highlights about what sets them apart! You might even get some kids to weigh in and use quotes from them! This is also a great way to let the church know who’s volunteering in children’s ministries, perhaps leading to recruiting opportunities for you!