Archives For volunteers

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It’s 9:00 pm Saturday night and Bill is frantically searching his email for the lesson that was emailed to him earlier in the week. When he finally finds it and prints it off, it’s 10:00 pm. He glances at it (not really to read it but just to make sure it all printed), and then shoves it in his Bible so he’ll have it when he leads his small group on Sunday morning.

Is this how your volunteers prepare to lead a small group? In the busyness of your life and theirs, how can you help them prepare to lead their small group well?

To help our small group leaders, I included a page in our training manual called “How to Prepare for Sunday Morning in 15 Minutes or Less.” The idea was to give them a practical way to be well prepared for Sunday by spending a little bit of time with the lesson each day. Here is what we included:

I adapted this schedule from an example found in Wholly Kids from Lifeway:Kids. This is an amazing resource on how kids learn, how to design engaging environments, and how to lead volunteers.

 HOW TO PREPARE FOR SUNDAY MORNING (in 15 minutes or less!)

Monday

  • Read the Fifty6 Team Email and print a copy of this week’s lesson
  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible

Time: 5 minutes

Tuesday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Read the Large Group teaching time

Time: 10-15 minutes

Wednesday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Read the Small Group portion of the lesson—Think, Discuss, & React

Time: 15 minutes

Thursday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Write down your responses/answers to the Small Group discussion questions

Time: 15 minutes

Friday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Pray for the students in your group by name

Time: 10 minutes

Saturday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Write down some fun or engaging questions to use during Huddle Time
  • Review the lesson and rest!

Time: 10 minutes

design23Yesterday, I got the opportunity to have a meeting with a future volunteer for our preteen ministry. His name is Sujay. Sujay communicated an interest in serving through our church-wide recruitment, we talked a few times via email, and then we set up a meeting to chat on Sunday morning.

My goal for the conversation was to get a feel for Sujay’s skills and work experience because he had signed up to work in a tech support role. As we talked, we got onto the topic of why he wanted to serve. His answer was amazing.

He shared with me about how he was growing and maturing in his faith while attending our church. He was so excited about everything that he was learning and applying to his life. He decided to serve because he wanted to have another way to worship God. Let me repeat that. He wanted to serve as an act of worshiping God.

This guy has “IT.”  I was ready to sign him up for a lifetime commitment. And just when I thought the conversation couldn’t get any better, Sujay floored me.

He wrapped up our conversation by asking about our plan for training young leaders. He shared his desire to take what he has learned and pass it on to the next generation!

We’re less than a month away from the launch of a new ministry year. I’m so excited to see what God does through an amazing group of leaders just like Sujay.

A while back, I learned about a very cool website from Jim Kast-Keat. Jim is extremely creative, and he is always introducing new methods for educating and inspiring others.

The site Jim taught me about was Xtranormal. The site allows you to create your own script and bring it to life in a movie. It takes a little practice to get the hang of the controls, but once you do it’s amazing!

I was first using the site just to make funny videos for my daughter, and then I had an idea. We were getting ready to revamp our entire preteen ministry. New identity, new physical space, new curriculum…everything new!

There was a lot of “info” to cover, but we first wanted to just start a buzz among our leaders about the exciting changes. So, I decided to create a short video that would announce the news to our leaders. Enjoy the video!


Have you ever wondered what makes a great leader “great”? It’s the time of year when we are doing interviews and placing volunteers for the new ministry year. As we go through this process, I have been reminded of this quote:

The people in and around your ministry will define your ministry.

Preteens, parents, and other potential volunteers will make judgments about your ministry based on what they see, and what they predominately see are the volunteers that you place in ministry.

Does that make you nervous to think about? It makes me nervous! It also makes the process of enlisting leaders even more important. Here are some qualities that we look for in our recruitment and interview process:

1. Passionate faith
Our expectation is that a volunteer will encourage preteens to grow in their faith. To do so, it is imperative that a volunteer displays a passionate faith. A passionate faith is like a virus that spreads throughout the group and infects every member.

2. Value people and relationships
A volunteer called to build relationships with preteens needs to value relationships. Even more so, we want leaders that can develop relationships with other leaders and parents. These relationships are tremendously helpful to the entire ministry.

3. Teachable
Even the 20-year ministry veteran has room for growth, so leaders need to be teachable. In addition to being teachable, we look for leaders who are “teachers.” Every experience in ministry is an opportunity to learn and share with other leaders to help them grow. Leaders who are teachable and teachers are worth their weight in gold!

4. Balance
The commitment to ministry is not always convenient. Someone who is over-committed in many areas of life will never achieve their full potential in ministry. When enlisting leaders, look for individuals who show balance in their life. They will most likely be able to manage the commitment of ministry and be successful in it.

5. Experience
We would love for every volunteer to have 10-20 years of experience in preteen ministry, but that’s not likely and that’s not really what we mean by experience. Great leaders have experience that is life-based. They have spent time under a faithful mentor, or they have experienced God working in their life in a mighty way. This type of experience is a well to draw from when leading a group of preteens.

What qualities do you look for in potential volunteers?