Leading a team is a difficult assignment. There is so much to do in ministry and many of our team members are volunteers who have jobs and families (and so much to do too)!

But there’s more that we should be focused on than the tasks that we are asking them to perform (teach this class; lead worship; prepare snacks and crafts; etc.). We believe that it is our responsibility as leaders to also invest in them spiritually.

As you sit with Jesus, allow Him to work in you and through you to reach your team.

After all, if we are setting them in place to be spiritual leaders for the children in our ministry, we should invest in them to ensure they are healthy spiritually. Unfortunately, it’s an area that all too many leaders neglect. When we only focus on getting through Sunday, it causes our ministries to suffer.

How to Provide Spiritual Care for Your Volunteers

Change your perspective.

If we are to care for our volunteers spiritually, we often need to shift our mindset as to exactly what our role is. Often times, we simply facilitate the ministry. We recruit, train, keep kids safe, and manage curriculum and resources.

And truthfully, we may not have any idea of the spiritual state of our team.

But being the leader of children’s ministry means we are responsible for knowing the spiritual health of those within our ministry, and caring for them.

Walk the talk.

The first place to start is with ourselves. Are we reading the Bible? Are we praying regularly? Do we treat others kindly? Trust God? Look for ways to serve?

And, here’s a big question: Do we attend church services?

If we don’t do these things, sooner or later it will become known. It will show up in our walks, in how we talk, and especially in how we facilitate ministry.

If we do these things, it will also be evident.

Either way, we are influencing those we lead: our teams, parents, and children.

If we want to care for others spiritually, we have to care for ourselves first. Either we are walking with Jesus, or we’re not. Either we are in ministry for Him, or we’re not.

Pray for your team.

There is such power in prayer. And when we pray as leaders it really does change things. Because the God we serve changes things! In Matthew 7, we are reminded of this truth.

“Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find. The door will be opened to the one who knocks.

Matthew 7:7-8 NIRV

How would we ever believe that we can care for our team spiritually if we don’t even pray for them?

Encourage each person in their walk.

How are we intentionally and purposely encouraging the spiritual walk of our volunteers?

Of course, we all need to be in God’s Word, in prayer, and following the Holy Spirit. And as we do all of these spiritual practices, we need to actively encourage these things in our volunteers as well.

We also need to encourage them in the deeper spiritual things. Things to do with the heart, and maybe even in struggles they have. But how can we if we don’t know what they are? We can’t.

We have to know our team members. We must be intentional in pursuing relationship with one another and encouraging them to do the same within the team.

There is such power in prayer.

It’s key that we build relationships beyond the purpose of making sure they fulfill their ministry obligations.

When we really know our volunteers, we can truly encourage them in their spiritual walks.

Enable a discipleship path.

This will look different in every church, but here are a few elements that we might use to create a “path” for volunteer discipleship:

Pour into them with teaching. 

In other words, our volunteers need to have opportunity to be in service, or we need to create separate opportunities for them to sit under the teaching of God’s Word. They cannot pour out what they have not had poured in.

Allow time for community. 

Make sure volunteers have a sense of community among themselves. This means creating these opportunities both within the ministry, and separately. Get creative and have fun!

Train them to serve. 

A huge part of discipleship is serving. Our volunteers have chosen to serve with us in children’s and family ministry. Don’t miss the opportunity to disciple volunteers by training them to serve. They can learn how to communicate better, discover ways to teach and share the gospel, and grow in their own faith.

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.

Hear their needs. 

The first three parts of this path are general to an entire volunteer base. But we are all individuals. And this is where relationship comes in. We need to know and understand our volunteers and hear what they need.

The larger our ministry is, the more we will also need to train our core leaders to hear the needs of the volunteers under their watch.

Friends, we can do this. First remember to care for yourself, and as you sit with Jesus, allow Him to work in you and through you to reach your team.