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Creating a Healthy Volunteer Environment -Part 1

Over the past year I have spent a lot of time trying to recruit new volunteers (or whatever you call them) into the growing Children’s Ministry here at the church. I’m not a big fan of stage announcements, or volunteer campaigns. I’ve always felt those can easily be interpreted as “The Ship is Sinking, Get on board!” Which is not the idea I want attached to what we do each week. In my thinking about how to get more Volunteers, I’ve come to realize that I really must spend more time creating a healthy environment for my current Volunteers; before trying to increase my numbers. In my prayer and study about creating a healthy environment for those that volunteer I’ve come up with some things. I’ve never truly had an original thought, so if you think you’ve heard this before; then I’m sure you have.

The first thing to figure out is, What is an “Unhealthy Volunteer?”

An unhealthy volunteer is:

  • A Volunteer that serves the church as a favor to the person who asked.
  • A Volunteer that displays loyalty to the Leadership and not to the kids in the classrooms
    • They would leave with the leader if the leader left.
    • If so and so ever leaves, then I m out of here quick. So you had better never get rid of so and so .
  • A Volunteer that never recruits other Volunteers
    • All About Me syndrome They ll complain about a lack of help, yet they are in more direct contact with people and parents in the church than many leaders. Despite their connections they never gather their own help. They would rather just complain.
  • A Volunteer that strays from the direction of the leaders guide and/or study materials
    • Why would someone do this?
      1. Uncomfortable with the changes to what they did in the past.
      2. Lack of training in how to do the New Thing.
      3. Unprepared to do what is requested of them. Without a plan teachers/volunteers will always resort to the lowest common denominator or teaching.
      4. Absolute Rebellion. (Very rare, in my experience)

Next I’ll tackle the top 6 things I try to avoid ever saying or doing in front of a Volunteer. And how NOT doing these things actually go a long way to creating a healthy Volunteer Environment.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.