Setting Volunteers Up for Success

September 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Last week, our ministry held our volunteer training in preparation for our ministry year kick-off.  Volunteer-equipping is one of the best aspects of my job.  I am a firm believer that a properly trained volunteer is more likely to succeed in their job and be a long-term ministry partner.

Here’s an overview of what I covered:

  • Icebreaker:  Promote a team mentality by allowing everyone an opportunity to meet and chat with others on the team.  Play a fun game and offer some cool prizes.  It helps them to know that we’re all in this together.
  • Highlight what God has done:  Share a brief synopsis of your previous ministry year.  Share stories of how your ministry has impacted families in your church.  Share how many children became Christ-followers.  Show pictures.  Have a volunteer give a testimony of how their life was impacted as a result of serving in your ministry.
  • Vision for the upcoming year:  Paint a vivid picture of where your ministry is going in the upcoming year and what role they will play in that.
  • Roles and Responsibilities:  Provide a thorough, yet easy-to-read volunteer handbook.  Take time to highlight things such as volunteer responsibilities, contact information, evacuation procedures, check-in/check-out procedures, arrival times, lesson schedules, lesson components and lesson preparation tips.
  • Sharing:  Rookie volunteers have lots of questions.  Provide a safe place for them to ask those questions.  And don’t feel like you have to be the expert.  Call upon veteran teachers to speak into the rookies.  They have been in their shoes and have much insight to offer.

Don’t just offer a one-time training; we must provide ongoing training that offers practical tips and encouragement.  Each week, I send out a “Teacher Tidbits” communication via email to my volunteers.  I use this tool to communicate special announcements, birthdays, anniversaries, adjustments to our morning schedule, etc.  I also include a word of encouragement and/or a practical training tip in areas that would be most beneficial to them.  Some great resources to use for these practical tips are Take Out Training for Teachers and 2-Minute Encouragers for Teachers.

How do you set your volunteers up for success?  Share your success stories here!

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