Volunteers can be challenging to find and keep. Sometimes it seems like we are trying to patch a boat that never stops leaking. Could there be a better way? Perhaps we need to evaluate what we are looking for in a volunteer and recruiting for a certain kind of volunteer rather than just grabbing any warm body that happens along. Here are some important things to consider when looking for a volunteer:
• A vibrant relationship with Jesus. If they love Jesus and go to him for support, they will be able to stay the course when it gets tough (and it always does). They will also have the tremendous bonus of living in front of kids the kind of relationship you want children to have with Jesus.
• A love and desire to work with kids. Make sure your volunteers really enjoy being with kids. Before you ask them to help, think about how they relate to kids; do they seem like they genuinely enjoy them or is it just an obligation?
• A sense of fun and a sparkle of drama. Does your potential volunteer know how to laugh at themselves? Does their face communicate a spirit of joy and fun? Be sure not to overlook quiet people who come alive when they are with kids.
• Faithfulness is very important in a volunteer. Are they people that go the extra mile or do they just do the bare minimum? Are they dependable or not? You need someone you can count on to come each week. Don’t settle for less if you don’t have to.
• Look for people who come prepared. Some people do well as they ad-lib their way through life. But those who look over the lesson beforehand are often worth their weight in gold. They have had time to let it sink into their souls a bit, and think about how to present it to their kids. That can make a huge difference when questions come up and needs arise.
• Make sure you are asking a volunteer for the position that they have the skill set for. Being able to lead is not always a learned skill—though we often assume it is. Some people just do not have the desire or ability to lead. If you need a volunteer to lead, consider whether that is in their skill set or not. Some people really want to be in support roles while for others that can feel stifling. Make sure you are asking them for a position that fits who they are.
• Look for someone who values building relationships. Some people are good with kids but don’t really value building relationships. You want people who intentionally build significant relationships with kids. Those are the kinds of volunteers that stick with you because they value building and they know that happens over time and it is important to them to do that well.
• People that love God’s Word. If you want kids to love God’s word you need to have volunteers that love it themselves. A leader who loves God’s world will communicate a passion for it that will be contagious. Kids will feel an open invitation to enjoy God’s word when it is communicated out a heart of love.