The weeks leading up to Promotion Sunday lend the perfect opportunity for volunteer training as you embark on a new year in Kids Ministry. Everyone from the bright-eyed newbie to the gray-haired veteran can benefit from a thoughtfully constructed training session.
Here are some tips to consider as you train your leaders
1) Be prepared
In today’s busy, program-driven culture, adding another event to an already busy calendar is a major commitment. If your leaders are willing to give of their time to attend training, you need to make every effort to make it worth their while. Be prepared. Provide useful and practical information. Start on time. End on time.
2) Address different learning styles
Just as the kids they teach all have different learning styles so do your leaders. Employ multiple methods to reach your entire group. For the visual learner, use video-based training such as in Ministry Grid. For the verbal processor, allow time to discuss what has worked (and hasn’t worked) in their class. For the hands-on learner, provide crafts or games for them to actually do during training.
3) Cultivate community
Kids Ministry Leaders often feel like lone-rangers, disconnected from the rest of the body. Create a culture of community among your leaders. Encourage leaders to get to know each other. Allow veteran leaders to share the funniest moment in their class from the past year or a time when they saw God at work in a child’s life. Encourage new leaders to communicate how God led them to kids ministry. What are their hopes and fears for this new ministry opportunity?
4) Affirm and encourage
Never miss an opportunity to let your team know how much you value them and their efforts. Encourage parents to write notes of thankfulness to their child’s leaders to distribute at training, better yet encourage the kids themselves to write a note. Give time for leaders to share evidences of grace they see among each other. Provide tangible thank you’s such as a homemade treat, gift card to a local coffee shop, or new pack of markers for the ever-disappearing supply in their class.
5) Cast a vision
The task-driven nature of Kids Ministry can easily distract your team from the bigger picture. Between the search for markers that actually work, reminding Talky Talkerson to be quiet one more time, and making sure little Susie with the milk allergy doesn’t get her hands on any goldfish, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees. Use training as an opportunity to remind your team the work they do is of eternal value. Communicating the greatest message of all time to the most impressionable of God’s image bearers is of infinite importance.