Fourth Step: Orientation
There is nothing more frustrating than to be put in a position where you have no idea what you are doing and/or you have no resources to do it. Many children’s ministries are full of very frustrated volunteers that have been put in that very position. They are sometimes handed a lesson and without training, resources or with very little notice, they are placed into a room full of children who are wondering how long they will last. A simple implementation of the following suggestions can create a more positive experience for your volunteers:
- Take volunteers on a tour of the children’s department during service and introduce them to the other volunteers.
- Inform them of the basics of children’s ministry, how it is run, and what they can expect.
- Let them know what resources are supplied, what the procedures are when requesting supplies, and where they are located.
- Put your policies and procedures in writing and encourage them to read it. Schedule a Q & A session to discuss the policies and procedures with them.
- Have a system in place where someone checks up on them regularly for the first month to see if they have any questions or need anything. Do this during service if possible, if not then call them during the week.
- Send them a note welcoming them to the department.
- Make up a schedule on a quarterly basis and mail the schedule to all those who are on it. Take time to highlight their name on the schedule. Most people are willing to commit to 3 months of service. Once they are involved in a thriving children’s ministry they will stay longer if that is where God would have them serve. A very basic "Volunteer Schedule" can be found in the FREE STUFF section.
Fifth Step: Training
It will be a great benefit to the teachers for you to offer ongoing training. This can be in various forms such as books, DVD's, online sites that offer free information, seminars, or workshops held at the church.
Here are some training topics teachers would benefit from:
NOTE: I will continue to add articles covering these topics that can be printed and given to your volunteers. Keep checking back for updates!
How Children learn
Basic Characteristics of different age groups - See "How Children Develop" under the About Kids section.
How to communicate effectively with children
How to make learning fun
Large group teaching
Small group teaching
How to lead a class effectively
The importance of preparation
Dealing with challenging children
How to avoid burn out
How to work with others and not loose your salvation
Of course, the list could go on and on but these are essential foundational topics for any teacher to minister to the whole class effectively.
If you choose to offer training at your church it is very important to make it fun. If teachers leave feeling refreshed, restored, and refilled, they will come back again and again. If a workshop is boring they will think twice about “wasting” two to three hours of their time attending the next one. There are many great resources available to assist you in this area. Take some time to browse the Internet or visit your local Christian bookstore. Creative For Kids Ministry also offers workshops on all of the above topics. Call us toll free at 877-637-0122 for more information.