Friday, April 05, 2013


I'm really trying not to sound like I'm bragging, but I used to do children's ministries in one of the largest churches in southern California. If I mentioned this church, you would probably recognize it.  I'm fairly certain you've heard of the pastor (both the current one and the one before).

But to put this in some realistic perspective, I was involved with this church as one of hundreds of volunteers. Being a large church, there were many different children's ministries besides Sunday School, and so the volunteer base was quite large.

But here's "the thing": I was treated like the most important member of the volunteer team! When
Yeah, it was a long time ago!
we had our weekly training meeting, our team leader acted as if every single person in the room was a vital part of the ministry. If I was sick or had an unavoidable conflict, I would get a note of encouragement, prayer, and support, as well as a reminder of how crucial my participation was to children's evangelism. And when I finally moved on to other ministry opportunities, the team leader not only expressed how much I'd be missed, but also her sincere congratulations and blessings on my new adventure.

To be honest, at the time, I never contemplated just how significant this was. When I became a regular children's pastor, I also became a student of children's ministry leadership, and I began learning and growing in leadership principles set forth in myriads of  books, blogs, and podcasts. But it was only then did it all dawn on me: This team leader in this huge church was doing effective volunteer management before children's ministries became a "profession" in most churches. She never wrote a book, there was no personal computing back then, and her weekly volunteer newsletter was a hand cut and pasted affair. Yet the things she did could very well be the chapter titles of a popular volunteer leading handbook.

Let's take a quick look:
  • She valued each volunteer's input.
  • She kept in regular contact with each volunteer.
  • She affirmed that each volunteer was an important part of something big (not just a warm body to fill a slot).
  • She cast vision.
  • She let God direct the volunteers' paths, even if such a leading took them away.

I'm sure there are more principles, but you get the idea. I don't remember her name and I'm not quite sure she would even remember me, but I'm grateful for this children's ministry pioneer who was "doing the stuff" before there were ever websites to lay it all out.

No comments:

Post a Comment