It seems no matter the size of the church, the greatest challenge for kids ministry leaders is enlisting volunteers. Many times, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by “filling a slot” rather than recruiting individuals to serve the Lord through teaching. In my years of enlisting teachers in kids ministry, I learned the following valuable lessons.
1. Pray and Listen. Prayer is imperative before, during, and after the enlistment process. Pray, believing God will give you the names of people to ask. Pray in confidence. Pray you would see people the way God sees them. Look to see their potential. Be open for what He wants to teach you through this process.
2. Know the Vision. Before we can ask others to pray about teaching in kids ministry, we must know and understand our vision. Why do you believe kids ministry is important? How does it make a difference in the church? Why would someone want to join our teaching team? What is our desired goal for our leaders, the kids, and ministry? Spend time developing or reviewing your vision for ministry. We have to know and understand our vision before we can communicate it effectively.
3. Communicate and Ask. People need to know the why (the vision) before they can understand and say yes to the what (teaching in kids ministry). As God brings individuals to mind, reach out to them to schedule a time to visit in person. Ask individually rather than continuous churchwide blanket announcements. The constant announcements for teachers implies no one wants to serve in kids ministry. Share stories of how God is using teachers to minister to families. Share the joy and excitement for teaching. Make sure to communicate the expectations for teachers. Ask the potential teacher to pray about a specific teaching opportunity in a particular class.
4. Accept Their Answer. After the prospective teacher has prayed about teaching, follow up with her. It’s unrealistic to believe God will call every person you ask to teach in kids ministry. When someone says, “no” to serving, don’t take it personally. You may consider asking if she would be a substitute teacher or interested in another role in kids ministry. If the answer is “yes,” make sure to equip them with knowledge, training, and resources as they begin teaching. Also, follow your church’s policies and procedures for volunteers in kids ministry.
The enlistment of teachers is continual. When I implemented the above strategies, I found recruiting teachers less of a chore and more of an opportunity to see God develop His call in others’ lives. Trust the Lord. He knows what we need and He is faithful to provide who we need.