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FC Kids Uncategorized Volunteers

I Serve: Recruiting New Volunteers!

As a leader of a children’s ministry, one thing you need to be comfortable with is the fact that you will always be recruiting new volunteers. If you’ve been in children’s ministry long enough you realize that volunteers come, and volunteers go. No matter what you do, the back door to volunteering will always be open because people enter into different seasons in life, people move away, or life circumstances simply cause your volunteers to step away for a while. Knowing this, it is imperative that you always keep your front door open. In other words, if you’re not constantly bringing in new volunteers, your ministry will suffer. You need to make sure that as one person goes, you have another person coming in.

To help us do this, we promote volunteerism here at Fellowship Church every weekend. One of the ways we do this is through promotional campaigns. Our latest volunteer campaign is called “I Serve FC Kids”. In this campaign we used flyers, posters, and standup cutouts to keep in the forefront of everyone’s mind that the programming in FC Kids only happens because of volunteers, and that those volunteers are people just like them.

Our goal is that, when people walk into Fellowship Church, they understand that we value volunteering as a major tenet of our church. Therefore, when the ask is made of them to volunteer, it doesn’t catch them by surprise. We want them to think, “Volunteering is important here, so I’m sure someone will be asking me to volunteer soon.” And believe me, we will.

Scroll through the pictures above to see some of the ways we promoted this campaign.

Children’s Ministry Current Affairs Uncategorized

Teaching Creationism To Kids

Recently, a couple of questions have come up from Elevate users asking about which lessons teach the Creation story and which can be used to teach Creationism. In Elevate, we believe in teaching kid’s God’s Word as early as possible, and because of this, we have several lessons that teach the Creation story, the story of Noah, and an entire series on those Bible stories for younger age groups. These Bible Lessons don’t include specific apologetics when it comes to Creation, dinosaurs, or the worldwide flood because we are providing you as the teacher with the flexibility and time to discuss the lesson as your ministry decides.

For those of you looking for lessons specifically about Creation and Noah’s Flood, here are the ones from Elevate, based on age group:

Creation Lessons for ages 3-6 – The Roanoke Jones Jr. series is eight lessons on the overview and story of Creation. It is probably our most comprehensive lesson plan for Genesis 1. Another lesson on Creation is Lesson 1 from the series Upsidedown Town Jr.

Noah’s Ark Lessons for ages 3-6 – The entire series of Port of Call Jr. is the story of Noah spanning all the way from the building of the ark to the rainbow. Other lessons where the Bible Stories are about Noah can be found in Upsidedown Town Jr. Lessons 5 and 6.

Creation Lessons for ages 6-12 – There are three lessons on Creation for this age group. Allaso Ranch Lesson 3, Adventures in Science Lesson 1, and Zooplosion Lesson 1.

Noah’s Ark Lessons for ages 6-12 – There are two lessons from the story of Noah for this age group. The Great Skybridge Showdown Lesson 2 and Zooplosion Lesson 8.

If your ministry already has these series, you can create something similar to what we do at Fellowship Church – we put together a few weeks we call ‘the Best Of Elevate’, and pick different series. Or if you need to purchase these series, you can find them all on ElevateAtChurch.com.

For those of you interested in more information on Creationism vs. Evolution – there is a place called the Institute for Creation Research that has a local center in the Dallas area. They have several resources on their website: http://www.icr.org/.

Uncategorized Volunteers

Going Fishing: Recruiting Volunteers Part 3

Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking about recruiting volunteers. I’ve talked about not neglecting all types of potential volunteers. I’ve talked about why, biblically, we are to serve others and involve others in serving as an administer even more than as a minister. And now, for the practical side of recruiting volunteers. Fishing.

There are three types of fishing and each type snags a different type of volunteer.

#1. Go fishing with a Net

It’s basically a large call out to the people of your church. It could be an announcement in the bulletin, it could be a flyer you hand out at the door, or a booth in the lobby. This is getting the word out for vacation bible school, or summer camp, or a build project. Make sure they have a way to respond or a call to action.

Example: After one of our campaigns to increase awareness we handed out volunteering cards to everyone in the service. We had talked about it, been praying for them, and we got back 150 cards from people interested in volunteering. So that gave us a hot list to start calling to plug people into volunteering.

#2. Go fishing with a Pole

You are going after a specific type of fish or volunteer. To get this specific type of fish, you need to go to the ‘pool’ where these fish are swimming. If you need a builder, go to the men’s ministry to a bunch of guys to help build. If you need someone on stage in a kind of ‘ra-ra’ get kids excited way, go to the drama team. You need to be strategic when recruiting volunteers for a specific role.  We even use our database and print out a list of people based on their hobbies or jobs to call about specific opportunities in our ministry.

You can also create a pool to fish from! Example: We have a class called the Newcomers Class for people interested in joining our church. That is a pool we want to fish from because those people are obviously interested in finding out more about the church, so they may be interested in serving once they hear about the different ministries. Another thing we do is called our Volunteer Tour. We take people behind the scenes to see the different areas within the church in action and to answer the question, ‘what type of ministry do I want to serve in?’ Then we take the list and find out exactly where they want to serve.

#3. Go fishing with a Spear

This is when you make a deliberate effort to go after a specific person. Maybe you’ve noticed a man or a woman or teenager that you want to get serving. They may be one of those that you have been praying for for a long time. Or you may not even know them and may have watched them and noticed them. Usually these types of people do not respond to the net or pole, they only respond to direct conversation with you when you share the vision of your ministry. And they can turn out to be the best volunteers.

So there you have it. The who, the why and the how of recruiting volunteers. Every principle I’ve talked about is a principle we use at Fellowship Church to involve everyone in loving God and loving others. You can’t be a week at Fellowship without hearing about volunteering and you can’t be here a month without expecting to be asked. Again, volunteering is not about you, or even the kids, it’s about involving everyone in God’s kingdom so they can grow into fully mature followers of Christ. So be bold, and as we say at Fellowship Church, “Go for the ask!”

You can download our recruiting campaigns for free on ElevateAtChurch.com.

Uncategorized Volunteers

The Most Important Part: Recruiting Volunteers Part 2

Last week I said “God has called me to not only involve those who want to volunteer, but to involve those who don’t want to volunteer as well. And you know what? God has given you that calling too!” Now I know that that is a bold statement, so before you hyperventilate, let me explain why I believe the Bible tells us so.

What’s Most Important?

The Bible speaks of a time when a Pharisee came to Jesus to ask Him which commandment of the Law was most important (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV). Now personally, I say that’s a great question (even if the motives of this Pharisee weren’t the purest). After all, my inquiring mind tells me that if there is one thing that God wants me to be doing above all else, I want to know what it is so I can make sure that I am doing it! Well, believe it or not, Jesus gave the Pharisee an answer. He told him that there were not one, but two commands. The first and greatest was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second one, which was like it, was to love your neighbor as yourself.

There you have it. The Top Two. The Twin Towers of power. The Two Beacons of light that will guide us in our deepening walk with God. Jesus said, and I paraphrase, “So you want to be obedient? OK, then love God in your actions, in your words, in your thoughts and in your worship; and love others as much as you love yourself.”

Simple right?

Yeah…not so much. Especially that “love your neighbor as yourself” statement. That’s a tough command for all of us, and it’s one we usually try to sweep under the rug and casually act like it’s not there. The problem, however, is that we can’t do that, because without obeying this second command we will not grow spiritually.

Grow in Love

To show you what I mean let’s turn to the book of Ephesians, chapter four (Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV). Here Paul says that all baby believers should desire to grow and become mature under the head of Christ. In real life babies are cute and cuddly…for a while. Soon however we expect those babies to grow up, assume responsibility for themselves and become fully functioning members of the family. This is true for us spiritually as well. Paul says we must grow and mature as a member of God’s family (His body) so that we can assume responsibility for ourselves and become functioning members of that family.

To make this happen Paul says that we must grow and build ourselves up in love. Love for who? Why the very ones Jesus commanded us to love of course!  Love for God and love and others!

Interesting huh? If we merge the divinely inspired words of Paul with the words of Jesus we discover that in order to mature, each of us must grow and build ourselves up in our love for God, AND each of us must grow and build ourselves up in our love for others.

But we’re still not done yet, we have one more question. How do we grow and build ourselves up in this love? Paul gives us the answer. We grow and build ourselves up in love as we WORK. And that my friends is the hard part. We must work at loving God (through Bible study, prayer, obedience, church attendance, etc) and we must work at loving others (through acts of kindness and service). If we do this God promises us that we will grow and become a mature part of the body of Christ that He will use to do His work.

OK, so you might be asking “what does this have to do with recruiting volunteers?”. My answer…Everything! If we can fully understand the process involved in becoming a mature believer it will completely change the way we recruit volunteers. Let me explain. Our job as Children’s Leaders is two fold. To bring children into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to bring to maturity the leaders who serve alongside us in completing this task. In God’s eyes, one is not more important than the other…they are equal. Someday I believe we will all stand before God and be accountable for the children He placed in our care. But I also believe we will be held accountable for the adults He put in our church that He wanted us to help grow and become mature by getting them involved in serving others. What a privilege it is to be a children’s leader! God has chosen you to have the greatest opportunity to help people mature in their walk because you have been afforded the place with the greatest need for people to be serving in the church, the ministry to children! We need to keep this in mind when recruiting volunteers. There is no other area in the church that has as many service opportunities (opportunities that will cause a person to grow and mature) as what the Preschool and Children’s ministries have to offer. We should rejoice in the fact that God has given us this privilege of being so involved in the maturation of others (and the rewards in Heaven for doing so)!

So here it is in a nutshell. If I truly believe that people only grow and mature when they are loving God and loving others, then it is my responsibility to help them to accomplish both. My job is not to do the work of the ministry all by myself, my job is to give the ministry over to God’s people so they can become mature as they serve. In a very real sense I am more of an administer than I am a minister. My job is to organize and provide opportunities where people can can work at loving God and work at loving others! This is a great task!

volunteer to grow
How to Ask

When I ask a volunteer to serve, I shouldn’t go to them with hat in hand asking them to do me a favor by serving in the Children’s Ministry. Instead I should go to them boldly telling them that I want to do them a favor by getting them involved. If I have this attitude, I will now see recruiting volunteers in a whole new light. When I ask someone to volunteer, I will not feel guilty about putting them out, or about bothering them. Instead I will see their life as my responsibility, given to me by God, to grow and mature through service. I will say “I love you enough to keep asking you over and over and over because I know that if you don’t serve, you won’t grow. And I love you too much to let that happen.”

I hope you can now see that if a volunteer is to ever reach their full potential, they need to lead a balanced spiritual life. If a person’s only focus in life is to love God by feeding on His Word, then that person will become spiritually obese. However, if a person only focuses on serving others, that person will burn out due to a lack of spiritual nutrition. Everyone in the church needs to be doing both; loving God AND loving others. When they do, the Bible promises us that they will become a mature part of the body of Christ, ready to do even more of His work. When that happens, we will have all the volunteers we will need.

So challenge yourself this week to personally ask at least two people to come volunteer in your ministry. And remember – it’s not, “Do me a favor,” it’s “Let me do you a favor – come volunteer”!

Next week I’ll be talking about the top three ways to recruit volunteers. And it’s all about fishing.

Uncategorized Volunteers

The Big Box of Potential: Recruiting Volunteers Part 1

When I think about recruiting volunteers, I think of a big yellow box with the word “Potential” emblazoned across the top of it (Why yellow? Because when it comes to recruiting I try to envision as many happy things as I can!) When I open this cheerfully colored box I see inside it every person who is part of my church. As I look closely I also see that every one of these people fall into one of four distinct groups.

In The Big Box

  • The first group of people are wearing t-shirts and hats that say “I LOVE KIDS” . These awesome folks are jumping up and down with their hands raised yelling “Pick Me! Pick Me!” I like this group because they often come with their own “object lesson tool kits” and sometimes even provide their own snacks.

  • The second group of people are those who are looking up at me and casually wondering why I am looking at them. They’re somewhat interested in volunteering but definitely not as fanatical as the first group.

  • The third group consists of people who are totally clueless that the lid is even open and that I am standing there watching them. For these people, children’s ministry is not even a blip on the radar.

  • The fourth and final group are those who, the moment I took the lid off, scampered off to the dark corners of the box trying to hide. They are the ones who, for some reason, see me as a threat to their normal everyday life of bliss and happiness.

As I look at these four groups of people my natural inclination is to primarily focus on the first group. Why? Because they make my recruiting task easy and even fun, two words not usually associated with volunteer recruitment.

As for the other three groups? Well I try to get them involved. I either call them (but only when I know they won’t be home so I can just leave a message) or I type up a sincere, heartfelt letter and click the Send button. Beyond that I don’t give them a lot of effort because, quite frankly, when I reach out to them I almost always hear the word NO more than I hear the word YES! And, since I don’t like the indigestion the word NO gives me, I tend to push these three groups out of my consciousness.

Recruiting Volunteers, What Now?

But, to be honest, if I do this it presents a couple of big problems for me. The first is that there just isn’t enough of those “pick me, pick me,” people to cover all the areas I need. The second is that as a church leader (and if you work with kids you are a church leader), God has called me to not only involve those who want to volunteer, but to involve those who don’t want to volunteer as well. And you know what? God has given you that calling too! So this week, when you look for people to ask to serve, don’t just look for those ‘pick me types’, go for the ask when it comes to the other types of people as well – even those who don’t even know you have a kid’s ministry. Biblically, we are commanded not to neglect those other three groups of people.

Now I know that is a bold statement, so before you hyperventilate, in my next blog I will explain what the Bible says specifically about volunteer recruiting.

Children’s Ministry Uncategorized

VBS Is Almost Here, But What About The Weekend?

Vacation Bible School

With all your VBS planning, don’t forget to plan the weekend!

Summer is right around the corner and with summer comes Vacation Bible School! Do you already have a plan for what theme or series you are doing this summer? Whether you do or don’t, Elevate can help. There are 5 years worth of Elevate Kids and 3 years worth of Elevate Jr. curriculum to choose from that can help enhance your weekend experiences surrounding and supporting your VBS material that you utilize during the week. And then you can decorate once for the whole summer!

Below are a couple examples of VBS curriculum and their suggested Elevate series by theme, in alphabetical order. Special thanks to Kidzmatter Magazines VBS 2014 Showcase in their January/February issue that we used to create the chart below.

VBS Curriculum Elevate Series
AgencyD3: Decide, Discover, Defend Spy Chase or Roanoke Jones Ace Detective
Arrow Island: Choosing God’s Way Treasure Quest or Shipwrecked
Basic Elements Adventures in Science
Blast Off Starlight Station
Faith Expedition Journey Below The Earth, On The Trail, The Great Race
Game Plan Super Sports Spectacular or Goodman’s Global Games
Gangway to Galilee Shipwrecked, Port of Call, To The Depths
God in Action Heroes of Mega City or Epic
Gotta Move Center Stage
High Power Sports Super Sports Spectacular or Goodman’s Global Games
International Spy Academy Spy Chase
Jungle Safari Treasure Quest
Living Inside Out City Streets or UpsideDown Town
Praise Break Center Stage
SHINE Center Stage or Entourage
SonTreasure Island Shipwrecked or Treasure Quest
Under The Stars Allaso Ranch
Weird Animals Zooplosion or To The Depths
Wilderness Escape On The Trail
Workshop of Wonders The Great Skybridge ShowdownRobot Repair Shop, or Make Things Industries

Are you planning your own VBS? or using another VBS not mentioned above? Let us know or use some of the series below:

Are you doing a circus-themed VBS? Check out Under The Big Top

Are you doing a medieval times-themed VBS? Check out Kingdom Tales

Are you doing an undersea-themed VBS? Check out To The Depths

Are you doing a round up or rodeo western-themed VBS? Check out On The Trail!

You can base your VBS around an Elevate series or you can purchase an Elevate series to go along with the VBS you have already selected, whatever you choose, we would love to help you Elevate your VBS!

 

Also, check out our Pinterest boards to see great decorating ideas from these series and more!

Children’s Ministry Parenting Uncategorized

Is Church Attendance Important?

This is the house where I grew up in a little town called Anaconda, Montana, population 4000. (Our school mascot was a Copperhead – yes, it’s true, we were the Anaconda Copperheads. Can you guess what our gym was named? The “Snake Pit” of course!)

There is nothing extraordinary about this house except for the fact that it was two houses down from this building – Grace Baptist Church.

This is the church I grew up in. Nothing kept my family from being there every time the doors were open; not rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor venomous snakes roaming the streets.

Anyway, on to the point of this post:
At Grace Baptist Church, children were given Sunday School Pins every year if they attended a certain number of Sundays during that year.
Now you may be asking, what was the magical number of Sundays you had to attend? The answer is 50. Yes, I said that right – if you came 50 out of 52 Sundays, you would be the proud owner of that years Sunday School Pin. (Now there were ways to get around this. For example, if you were sick you could be excused if you brought a note from your Doctor. Or, if you were out of town, you could be given attendance credit if you brought back with you a bulletin from the church you attended while you were away. Other than that, your bum had to be in a seat on Sunday morning.)

Knowing this seemingly insane number of Sunday’s needed to get a pin, how many Sunday School Pins do you think my sister and I received from Grace Baptist Church while growing up?

No, not zero.

We received one every year we were eligible…18 in all.

Now, I wish I could say I can take credit for that, but I can’t. In fact there were many times I wasn’t that thrilled about going to church. Sometimes I was even dragged (usually on Sunday nights when I had to miss the end of Walt Disney’s Magical World of Color). But my parents, Larry and Sue, knew the value of regular church attendance and they made the decision that they would orbit our family’s life around the church. Because of this I was able to learn about compassion, integrity, courage, faithfulness, obedience, generosity and many other Biblical leadership qualities. Qualities that helped me avoid a lot of mistakes in life. For that, all I can say, is thank you mom and dad!

But what I learned at Grace Baptist Church is only part of the great gift my parents gave to me. The other part of the gift is something that both my sister Becky and I have strived to give our own children…a love for the local church. This is a great gift because it is through the local church that our children’s lives will be transformed and through it they will in turn be given the opportunity to transform the lives of others.

Now, don’t get me wrong, orbiting your life around the local church is not a magical formula for raising your children with success. But it’s close! And here’s the cool part. Orbiting your family’s life around the local church hardly costs anything – just one hour a week.

Oh, before I go. I was looking through some old pictures awhile back and I stumbled across this one below.

It’s a picture of my dad (on the left) when he was 18 years old. He is standing on the corner of the church he grew up in…Grace Baptist Church in Anaconda, Montana (you can see that very corner in the foreground of the picture above). And here’s the part I love..if you look really close you can see that he is proudly wearing something on his lapel. Guess what it is? 18 Sunday School Pins.

Thats the legacy that was passed down to me. What legacy regarding church are you giving your child? Remember, it’s never too late to start.

Children’s Ministry Leadership Uncategorized

Time Gobblers – Part 4: The Plan-less Paralyzer

The last three weeks we talked about our time Gobblers,  the Programming Pac-man, the Meeting Miser, and the Interruption Immobilizer. What is a time Gobbler, you ask? They are the things that leave you feeling disappointed each week with the amount of
time you actually gave to doing the things that are important to you and your ministry. Now on to our last Gobbler!

Gobbler #4 The Plan-less Paralyzer

This may seem extremely basic, but you have to have a plan
of action for your week. If you begin your week without a plan, you might as well be jumping into a den of hungry lions with a steak tied around your neck. Either way, you’re in trouble.

Know what you want to accomplish and set out to make it happen. Some people like “to do lists”, others like to set a schedule for their
week so they are able to keep track of when they are supposed to be in a meeting or in the office. Do what works best for you.

It might take an hour of your week to get your plan down, but the benefits will be ten-fold. Take charge of your week by stopping the
Gobblers before they attack. Don’t allow them to keep you from doing what God has called you to do, ministering to the kids and families He has brought to your church.

Children’s Ministry Leadership Uncategorized

Time Gobblers – Part 3: The Interruption Immobilizer

The last two weeks we talked about our time Gobblers, the Programming Pac-man and the Meeting Miser. But what is a time Gobbler? They are the things that leave you feeling disappointed each week with the amount of time you actually gave to doing the things that are important to you and your ministry. Now on to our next Gobbler!

Gobbler #3 The Interruption Immobilizer

Interruptions, whether electronic or human, can keep you from getting anything done. A recent study in England showed that checking and responding to e-messages or phone calls actually hurts your IQ worse than the effects of smoking marijuana.

Here is something to remember; our modern methods of communication are great tools of efficiency, but they are just tools, nothing more. You are not a slave to these items. Don’t answer the phone every time it rings. Don’t take your cell phone or Blackberry to lunch with a volunteer you need to counsel. Don’t keep your email open if you check it every time you get a message.

If you have an office, close your door. And don’t answer every knock. It will give you the time to get things done, and it will empower your leadership to figure things out on their own. Sometimes the best training you can give your staff or volunteers is your absence.

Spend this week looking at the ways you interact with technology and how you deal with interruptions. Then take steps to keep interruptions from gobbling your time. Next week will be our final time Gobbler: The Plan-less Paralyzer.