Over the last year our team has been evaluating how we recruit, equip and train new volunteer leaders. We want to be sure that a preschool small group leader receives the same care and training as a 3rd grade small group leader.

We’ve developed a 5 step process for each new volunteer that helps equip them to be the best small group leader they can with a firm understanding of both our curriculum and policy/procedure. The process is efficient and understandable by our coaches and team leaders and I feel confident that each new leader is receiving the tools and training to help them win no matter what age group they’ve been called to work with.

However, we recognized a problem. How are we identifying and recruiting people to work our new process with?

It’s been our experience that a personal ask is far more productive than a push from the pulpit. Really, most people are just waiting to be asked and a personal one goes a lot further than an announcement in worship!

I love every opportunity I get to share the vision for and importance of loving and leading kids to know Jesus, but that can be a strange way to greet every parent or potential new leader in the hall on Sunday morning, particularly when they’re trying to get their kids checked in and get to service on time. We have a killer process, but we needed an “on ramp.”

Knowing the impact we could make with even a small captive audience, we created what we call “First Look” for the Early Childhood Ministry and “Jump Start” for the Grade School Ministry. (We use the Frist Look and 252 Curriculum from Orange, and decided to play on that for our early childhood orientation.) We host these quick orientations on the last Sunday of each month, following the last service of the morning. The meetings are only about 15 minutes, but allow us ample time to really share the vision and mission of the ministry as well as the numerous opportunities to serve, from weekday prep and set-up to Sunday small group leaders. We kick off the meeting with a short promo video from Orange highlighting our curriculum and wrap it with the video below.

This is the win – “First Look” and “Jump Start” created an easy ask for inviting parents and potential new leaders, whether it’s parents interested to know more about what their kids are experiencing, or potential new leaders we want to share vision and opportunity with! It’s exponentially increased our influence because all of our SGLs, coaches, and team leaders know about this monthly “First Look” into our kids ministry. Our postcard invitations create a much more organic conversation starter, and any leader or coach can hand them out.

Right now we average about 4-5 people in attendance each month, which may not seem like a lot. However, when you step back and think big picture, who wouldn’t want to average 4-5 new leaders on their volunteer team each month?! It’s been a huge win for the ministry and it has created the bridge we needed to move people from the hallway to the classroom.