A great Sunday School volunteer is worth their weight in gold. Now some of you on shoestring budgets might be thinking: “If that’s the case I’d like to trade in a couple.” But it’s true! A great volunteer multiplies your ministry’s influence and effectiveness. The opposite, however, also holds true. A lackluster volunteer makes children’s ministry harder than it already is. Carefully selecting and investing in your volunteer team is one of the most important processes a leader will undertake. To help evaluate where you are, here are 10 things to look for when hiring a Sunday School volunteer.
Passionate Follower of Christ: The greatest “ability” any volunteer will bring to ministry is a passionate love for Jesus Christ. And more than anything else, this is what our kids need to see in the adults that care for them. As the Spirit of God fills a volunteer with faith, hope, and love, they will outpour these very things into the lives of the children they serve. When interviewing a potential volunteer, a great opening question is: “Tell me about how you came to faith?” If their eyes well up with tears of joy, you have found the foundation of a great volunteer.Sunday School volunteers will have a major impact on the kids in your ministry. Here's 10 tips on how to choose them Click To Tweet
Ministry is hard. Children’s ministry is very hard. It requires a degree of patience, flexibility and consistency that is often difficult to find. And no matter how good we prepare, Sunday School is fraught with unforeseen obstacles. But this is a good thing. If we could plan a perfect service by our own strength, what need would there be to trust in God’s provision? A great volunteer has an unshakable trust in the ability of God to come through. Whether it’s upset parents, cranky kids, or missing crafts, a great volunteer views unexpected challenges as divine opportunities for God to demonstrate His great faithfulness to provide.
It has been said that vision is more caught than taught. This means that it is our example, more than our policies, that will impact kids’ lives. A great volunteer embraces this truth and sees their example as their greatest teaching tool. Children are incredibly observant. They watch those in authority and then follow their example. If you have children who are respectful and engaged in Sunday School, odds are you have some great examples they are following.
In Deuteronomy 32:30, the question is posed: “How could one person chase a thousand of them, and two people put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?”
Tucked in this verse is the powerful principle of multiplication between like-minded people. When you find a volunteer who is not only willing to serve, but buys in, heart and soul, to what you are trying to accomplish, your impact grows exponentially…from a thousand to ten thousand! A great volunteer becomes your Sunday School’s best advertisement. Rather than needing to be convinced of why what you do is so important, they go out and passionately convince others!
We are painfully aware of our ministry’s shortcomings. We know all too well the lack of help, the challenging kids, and the limits of our facility. The last thing we need is a complaining volunteer who spends the bulk of their time pointing out what is wrong. What we crave is a volunteer that sees these problems and then offers up solutions. We can’t fix everything by ourselves, but a team of solution-oriented volunteers can transform a ministry in a relatively short span of time. One way to unleash your problem solvers is to hold after service meetings. Let your volunteers share issues and then give them the opportunity to share solutions. You might be surprised by what they come up with.
God has designed His church to function in unity, as one interconnected and interdependent body. When a part of the human body selfishly consumes resources at the expense of other parts, we call this phenomenon cancer. Selfish volunteers are a cancer in ministry. As we have said, ministry is challenging, but it is almost impossible if you have a volunteer working against you. Team players infuse your children’s ministry with health and life! Always keep your eyes open for the volunteer who helps other volunteers, and then pour your time into them.
Willing to Grow:
The only perfect human to ever walk this earth is Jesus Christ. This means we all have room to grow.
Ephesians 4:15 teaches “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
Simply put, growth is part of God’s plan for our lives. A great Sunday School volunteer embraces this truth. Need someone to jump in and hold babies? They’re game! Need a volunteer to jump in and do announcements? Sign them up! Looking for help to welcome a new parent? They’re all over it! Many times a willing and open-minded attitude goes a lot further than an impressive resume.
Pride has a terrible impact on ministry, particularly with children. As our kids grow up, their biggest challenge is learning that life is all about God, not all about them. But preaching humility to our children does little good if the example they are shown is pride. If a volunteer tends to make service all about them, or pouts when they don’t get their way…beware! If you have the choice between an incredibly gifted volunteer who is proud, or a humble average Joe, choose Joe every time!
It’s easy to adopt some cultural stereotypes of what makes a good Sunday School volunteer. They must be young, hip, high-energy, willing to do crazy stunts and tell gut-busting jokes. But more than crazy, kids need consistency. They need to be cared for by mature loving adults who have raised children of their own, or have cared for other’s children in a professional capacity. It is one thing to be a child’s friend, it is another be a child’s leader. Always be open to volunteers who don’t fit the expected mold. Many times, those who don’t look all that flashy on the outside have a deep well of experience with children that cannot be matched.
They love kids:
The focus of ministry is not programs, but people. And in Sunday School, the little beating hearts of our kids is what it’s all about! The drive behind a great kids volunteer is their deep love for the children they serve. And it is this love that truly makes a difference as the Gospel is shared in word and deed. Oftentimes, you will see a volunteer’s heart best once service ends. They make a point of introducing themselves to parents, they give a child a special high five on the way out, they show up at a soccer game when invited. Encourage, equip and empower such volunteers! Their love is indispensable to your ministry.