Do your nursery volunteers know why they are serving in the nursery?
Do your preschool volunteers know why they are serving?
Do your elementary volunteers know why they are serving?
Do your volunteers who work with pre-teens know why they are serving?
How about your guest service volunteers? Your greeter team? Your worship team? Your security team? Do they know why they are serving?
What if we walked into your ministry this weekend and begin asking volunteers why they are serving? What would their responses be?
Many of them would probably defer to "what" they are doing.
"I'm teaching the Bible to the 3rd graders."
"I'm helping preschoolers learn Bible verses."
"I'm holding and rocking babies."
"I'm welcoming people to God's house."
"I'm running the A/V for the service."
While these responses would be true, they are not the main reason volunteers are serving...whether they know it or not.
As a leader, our job is to help volunteers shift from focusing on "what" they are doing to "why" they are serving.
If you are not intentional about telling volunteers "why" they are serving in children's ministry, they will forget. The natural tendency is to focus on the "what" since that is the tangible thing you are doing.
The "why" is your mission statement. If you don't currently have a mission or vision statement, now is the time to create one.
This means from the time they are first asked if they will join your team to years later when they are a veteran volunteer, you consistently remind them of "why" they are serving. It's vital that you keep taking your volunteers back to the misson/vision statement.
Vision shared yesterday and is not revisited today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Remind nursery volunteers that they are volunteering so young parents can be impacted by the Word of God and not be distracted. And remind them that they are spiritually investing in children at the beginning of their life. Their words, prayers and songs are making an impact whether they can see it right now or not.
Remind small group leaders that they are volunteering so kids can get connected and learn God's Word.
Remind greeters that they are the first impression people will have of the ministry. They are welcoming people whose family can be changed and put on a new path of life.
Remind worship leaders that they are ushering children into the presence of God as they worship Him.
Remind a/v volunteers that they are helping change kids' lives through the Scriptyres they place on the screen.
Remind preschool leaders that they are planting seeds that will come forth with spiritual fruit in the days ahead.
The "why" is your mission statement. If you don't have a mission statement, that is your starting point. Sit down and create a mission statement. I always encourage leaders to make the children's mission statement as close to the church's overall mission statement as possible.
Here's an example. If your church's overall mission statement is "Impacting people with the love and message of Jesus," you could make the children's mission statement be "Impacting kids and families with the love and message of Jesus."
Your mission statement is the reason your volunteers are serving. You simply need to make the connection for them and then consistently remind of the "why."
I often say, "People won't line up to change a diaper, but they will line up to change a life."
Show volunteers why they are changing kids' and families' lives. And then tell them again. And then put it in writing. And then add it your email signature. And then talk about it in the service. And then keep showing it and showing it and showing it.
When volunteers know why they are serving, they will be more passionate about it. And they will stick with it and go the distance with you.