As children’s ministry leaders, we have an opportunity to equip and empower volunteers as they journey with the children and families. The faith formation of our volunteers is an important focus, as they hold relationships with kids that are vital to lasting faith formation.

We can equip our volunteers with language, discipleship, encouragement, and training so they can help kids connect in relationship with Jesus as they find their place in God’s Big Story. What is God’s Big Story? It’s the story-arch of Scripture and what God was and is up to through it all.

To help your volunteers lead kids in God’s Big Story, allow them to see themselves within God’s Big Story so that they can invite kids to be on the journey too. Develop a model of doing ministry with kids and volunteers.

We often focus on doing ministry to and for the people around us, but what would happen if we shifted our gaze to do things with God and with others?

It’s important to empower volunteers with the tools and resources they need for ministry and let them take ownership in the ministry. Provide biblical context for volunteers who may not feel equipped or knowledgeable in the Bible, as well as inspiration and encouragement for their heart as they prepare to lead.

We often focus on doing ministry to and for the people around us, but what would happen if we shifted our gaze to do things with God and with others?

Equipping Volunteers: Sharing Ownership in Ministry

To help volunteers take ownership in the ministry, give away real ministry, not just small tasks. Give volunteers opportunities to lead in their calling with significant roles and responsibilities in areas in which they are passionate.

Instead of downplaying the role and making it too easy or low-commitment and unimportant, have high expectations and valuable roles for volunteers. Your volunteers need to know they are valuable, and they need to know what they’re doing is valuable and important.

Volunteers don’t burn out from doing ministry—they burn out from not feeling valued, appreciated, and well-cared for, or when they aren’t serving in their sweet spot.

Wonder Ink’s 3-year, 52-week children’s ministry curriculum offers kids space to fully find their place in God’s Big Story. Children discover they are Known by God, Loved by Jesus, and Led by the Holy Spirit.

two women having a conversation
Credit: Getty Images/DigitalVision/Thomas Barwick

Care for and Shepherd Your Volunteers

Ensure you have a system and strategy for caring for and discipling your volunteers. If you have more volunteers than you can care for personally, you can recruit care coaches who disciple and invest in a small group of volunteers. Don’t neglect praying with and for your volunteers.

You can pray and pour into them during pre-service huddles for inspiration and encouragement, as well as sharing wins and celebrating your volunteers. Volunteers who are well shepherded will be empowered as they lead and serve in God’s Big Story.

Train and model for your volunteers how to disciple kids by modeling and developing a strategy for discipleship. The strategy doesn’t have to be complicated.

A strategy for discipleship involves knowing where you’re going and what you’re aiming for. A scope and sequence that helps kids and leaders connect the full picture of God’s Big Story and their place in it will lead them into knowing their identity in His Story.

Equipping Volunteers: Training

Equipping volunteers also involves training them. Volunteer training can happen in a variety of ways: virtually or digitally through blog posts, emails, newsletters, text messages, or videos.

It can also happen in-person in a large group setting or one-on-one conversations, or in small group settings such as group dinners or pre-service meetings. Training can happen through modeling, sharing information, offering feedback and evaluations, and practicing new skills.

Frequently remind your volunteers of the importance of growing their own intimate relationship with God as they discover their identity in Him and their place in God’s Big Story.

Everything we do in ministry is an overflow of our own faith. Encouraging and celebrating your volunteers as they grow in their faith will empower them for kingdom impact.