If you haven’t already, you’re about to hit summer break. That beautiful time of year when kids are out of school, life slows down a bit, and vacation dreams become a reality. But if you’re in children’s ministry, you face a different reality. Kids attend church less frequently because of those vacations… same with your volunteers. And does life really slow down? Not so much. Filling in the gaps left by absentee volunteers makes your life more hectic than usual. (Not that people shouldn’t take vacations – they should. And you should too! But it creates a different dynamic for your children’s ministry.)
Why not use summer—and your volunteer gaps—to audition and test new hosts and storytellers for the school year?
Why you should do this:
It’s low commitment. People don’t want to try serving throughout the school year because they think once they sign up to try out one Sunday, they’re signed up for the remaining 51. You’re only asking for one Sunday and they’re helping out by filling a gap.
You get to audition each other. Auditioning is a two-way process. Chances are if you’re asking someone to give it a shot, you already know them and are fairly certain they’ll be great at it. Usually, the hesitation is more on their side. Often it just takes a taste of being on stage with kids hanging on your every word to help someone realize that this is where God wants them to serve.
You have to staff this position anyway. Don’t force a small group leader who is better at small group leading to take the stage. Use someone whose gifts are telling stories and connecting with a large group of kids.
You’re convinced, but you’ve got one big, burning question…
How do I start looking for future hosts and storytellers?
Start at the top. Request an ask from the main stage during church. This wide-open volunteer recruitment tactic may not yield a ton of storytellers, but it will plant the seed in your future volunteer’s minds.
Large Group Volunteers are a unique bunch and require more effort to discover and recruit for your team. They won’t come to you begging to tell Bible stories or lead games in your children’s ministry, you will need to go to them. Walk the hallways before and after church and do some observation. Look for these people:
Extroverts who get life from being the center of attention
Introverts who just happen to be great on stage (they do exist)
People surrounded by others listening to their personal anecdotes
People everyone is saying “hi” to, high-fiving, and seem like the life of the party
High schoolers who participate in choir, drama or debate, and are used to being onstage
High schoolers who are the class comedians
Local college students who are camp counselors or music/drama majors
Ask them to give it a try! When you ask, be specific with why you are asking them and have an exact date you’d like them to serve. Make sure it’s far enough away that you can put them through an application process. Assure them that you’re only asking for one Sunday at this point, but also let them know that If they enjoy it, you’d love to talk about getting them into a regular rotation of storytellers. For example,
“I’ve noticed you around church, and you seem like a really fun person. I am looking for a person to fill in as the Bible storyteller or stage host on Sunday, July ##. I think you’d be great at this. It’s just one Sunday, but if you enjoy it, I’m always looking for great large group volunteers on our team. Can we chat this week so I can tell you more about it?”
Here are some action steps:
Write down five people who you think would make great Bible storytellers in your children’s ministry.
Write their first names in the comments, and let’s pray that God will open their hearts to serving!
Contact them. Call them, Email, Text. Whatever it takes, and make “the ask.”
Even if they say, no, these people will feel like rock stars because you thought of them. But hopefully at least one will say yes, and you can work towards helping them get on stage.