We must help volunteers see that every single role in children's ministry is important. It's a given that volunteers who teach, lead worship and facilitate small groups are important.
These are all high profile roles that directly impact children and so we deem them as important. Which they are.
But what about the "behind-the-scenes" roles?
Roles like changing diapers in the nursery.
Setting up everything for a portable campus.
Checking security tags at the door.
Running the sound and media.
Holding and rocking a baby who is crying in the nursery.
Helping a new preschooler feel loved and welcomed.
Cleaning up after a service.
These "behind-the-scene" roles may not seem as important as the "stage" roles, but they are and they play a crucial role in the ministry.
And it's our job to help them see and know that what they do is important.
Show them why their role is important. When you bring new volunteers on the team, be sure you emphasize how important their role is. Give it to them in writing.
Show them the impact they will make. Share the stories of lives and families that have been impacted by their ministry.
An example is someone who puts together the craft supplies. Let them know the crafts will be used to teach kids how much God loves them. By preparing the crafts, they will have an important part in sharing the God's love with the kids.
Another example is someone who helps set up a portable campus. Point to the speakers and tell them the speakers they are putting up will be used to proclaim the Gospel. By helping set up, they are enabling kids to clearly hear the Word of God.
How about someone who holds babies in the nursery? They are giving young couples the opportunity to hear the Gospel in the auditorium.
Thank them on a regular basis. When you write thank you notes, do trainings, lead pre-service huddles and meet with volunteers, always tie their role into helping fulfill the great commission.
And make sure you have the song "Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed" playing in the background. 90's flashback. Just kidding.
Verbally say "thank you." And connect the task they are contributing back to the purpose of the ministry.
Remind them. Making every role in your children's ministry important is not a one and done. You have to keep saying it. Keep showing it. Keep emphasizing it.
Most people will forget over time why they are serving in their role. The "what" of the ministry overtakes the "why" of the ministry. They forget that the computer slides they are helping put in front of the kids is an important part of sharing God's Word with the next generation. They forget that the craft they prepare will help kids learn God's Word.
That's why it's crucial that you keep the "why" in front of them. On a regular basis, remind them "why" their role is so important. Remind them of the impact their role is having with families.
Without an ongoing emphasis of the "why," volunteers will grow weary in well doing and eventually quit. That's why it is crucial that you make every role in your ministry important. Because every role truly does make an impact. Do your volunteers know this to be true? They will if you remind them.
p.s. I have job descriptions for 26 roles in children's ministry. You can access them at this link.