Sunday, April 28, 2013

Organizing Volunteers, Part 1

One of the most important decisions any kidmin can make is how to structure your ministry to set volunteers up to win. The best structure to pull this off in your church all depends on what you do.

For me, I've spent the last 15 years doing mostly large group/small group Children's Ministry and even though I've led in churches of different shapes and sizes, I've essentially organized my teams around these three building blocks:

In smaller church settings, the point leaders over these areas have been key volunteers. In larger church settings they have been staff members who oversee other staff and volunteers in their division. Whatever the situation, staff or volunteers, they essentially do the same job. They are the primary eyes for the ministry in their particular are of expertise.

What I love about this structure is that it forces us to place volunteers (and staff) according to their giftedness and area of passion. Here's a little more about what each of these teams do.

Programming – The Programming Team is responsible for anything that happens on our stages during the large group program. This includes all large group storytelling, curriculum, worship, drama, tech, video, costumes, prop, staging, special event programming and leaders who serve in these areas.

Groups – The Groups Team is responsible for our Life Groups and guest check-in stations. This includes recruiting Coaches, Life Group Leaders, Welcome Hosts and Security Leaders as well as focusing on leader care, Life Group curriculum and monitoring the health of the individual groups.

Operations – The Operations Team is responsible for the nuts and bolts of Children’s Ministry including electronic check-in, facility issues, database management, Life Group supplies and safety and security procedures.

As my teams have grown, the leadership structure has grown more complex. For example, in my current church we have Groups Coaches leading our Life Group leaders so that the span of leadership and care remains manageable. These Coaches, however, are supported by a staff Groups Director. At our largest campus we have a separate Groups Director for preschool, early elementary and upper elementary. At smaller campuses one Groups Director oversees Coaches in all areas.

Again, structure should always flow from function. If the way you've structured your teams is getting in the way of what you do (or what you want to do), it's time to go back to the drawing board and figure out what works.

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