If you’re like most ministry leaders, your search for amazing volunteers is always underway. Whatever the season, you’d be happy to find another few mentors to work with children and youth. Share in the comments below what you look for in potential volunteers!
Why You Need Spectacular Volunteers
You, as a ministry leader, cannot do this job alone. First, you’re not paid enough to run yourself into the ground. Although, I’d advise not doing that no matter your paycheck. Second, you are fantastic. However, you aren’t gifted in every area. And you need others to fill the roles you can’t. Third, burnout is real and less likely when there’s a team in place. Fourth, every kid won’t relate to you or to any other adult. So, more mentors means more opportunity for growth. This is true for growth in terms of numbers, relationships and spirituality.
The Struggle to Find Them
It can feel overwhelming to build a team of mentors. This is especially common if the adults in your congregation have stopped serving in recent years. Older adults may say they’ve already “put their time in.” And younger adults may lead such busy lives that wrangling them to serve can feel almost impossible. Sadly, as a ministry leader, it can be an uphill battle to find volunteers.
So, what can you do with these realities in front of you? First, think realistically about what you can expect from each existing or potential volunteer. For example, perhaps there are those who are busy or home-bound but would like to send birthday cards to students. Alternatively, bring aboard retirees who want to help organize Sunday School rooms but don’t feel called to teach.
And look for volunteers strategically, keeping in mind specific qualities like those below. Making a dream team takes a while and requires some intention. But you’ll thank yourself when the group you’ve gathered serves cohesively and with joy. Now, on to those qualities.
What Makes Volunteers Spectacular?
In my experience, amazing volunteers share some common qualities. Although each volunteer and their life may look different from one another, there are aspects that make them very similar across the board.
Many assume that fabulous volunteers are young and fun. This is true. But it’s only true for one potential segment of volunteers. There are so many roles for adults to play in a well-oiled ministry. So, people of all different personalities and ages are wonderful to have on the team.
We’ve put together a list of qualities fantastic volunteers have in common. As you search your congregation for a few more volunteers to bring aboard, keep these attributes in mind. Working with those who possess them will make it a dream to work together, no matter the capacity.
5 Qualities of Amazing Volunteers
Your dream team of spectacular volunteers will include volunteers who are:
Patient: Look for someone who is slow to irritation and quick to listen. This person takes time to walk with children in their process of discovery. They approach their relationships with grace and are quick to treat others with understanding.
Empathetic: Keep an eye out for one who can understand a student’s experience. Look for a person that responds to others predictably and with tenderness. This person can read the vibe in a group and respond appropriately. They strive to put themselves in another’s shoes before making assessments or jumping to conclusions. And this person treats others with compassion and understanding.
Flexible: Look for a person willing to try something new and take direction. Search for one who can work well with others in the church. This person is willing to explore what’s never been done. They appreciate others’ ideas and perspectives, including children’s. And they have little problem shifting gears and changing the “plan.”
Supportive: Be on the lookout for someone who wants to be there for children and youth as they grow. This person understands and is behind the mission and vision of the ministry. And within the church and community, they advocate for the best interest of the children and the ministry. Lastly, this person avoids behavior that divides or dissolves trust.
Communicative: Keep an eye out for a person who is willing to have conversations when necessary. This person is able to speak to children in a way that is respectful of where they are developmentally. They handle conflict in a healthy way and can make known what they need in a way that doesn’t demonize others.
Wonderful Volunteers Are Used Well
Wonderful volunteers are all of these things. And they’re also amazing because they’re wisely utilized by the leadership. If you combine the qualities above with your own consideration for where to best invite volunteers to serve, your ministry will thrive.
Lastly, using volunteers well means appreciating them. Find ways of showing them how grateful the church is for their heart and service. If you’re wanting new ways to engage and care for your volunteers, grab The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer. It’s a super informative, quick read.
As you prepare this summer for a new program year, we hope this post will be helpful. What do you look for in fantastic volunteers? We’d love to know, so don’t forget to share in the comments below!