Yesterday I wrote this post about parents being required to volunteer. I asked what you thought about it. More people than I expected responded and it seems that most people were against requiring parents to volunteer.
What I found intriguing was Holly’s comment. They attended a church where serving was required and it eventually led to her and her husband going into Children’s Ministry full time. Surprisingly I’ve actually met a handful of long-term volunteers who came into ministry that way.
My opinion is similar to what many of you said. I worked at a church where my boss highly encouraged me to make this requirement. I respectfully declined and he didn’t press the matter. I remember having the conversation with him asking him if we were going to be the nursery Gestapo. “Am I going to stand in the hallway with my clipboard and deny the nursery to children who’s parents aren’t serving.” It’s a ridiculous image, but I actually think it’s a real issue some ministries face.
I know the situation. You don’t have enough volunteers. The same volunteers you have are overworked and on the verge of quitting. The only sensible option seems to be to require the parents to serve. I believe with all my heart that once this requirement is in place, your ministry will no longer be a culture of growth, excitement and energy. Although you may feel the weight lifted of a quick relief, it’s a system that cannot thrive. It will only continue to exist.
My encouragement to anyone in that position of hopelessness is to not resort to requirements, but dig down deep for a vision, a God-sized vision for what he wants to do in the lives of these children. Vision is contagious. Vision is exciting. People respond to vision. Chances are that the same people who would have reluctantly agreed to serve in the ministry out of requirement would probably respond to your visionary invitation, even if just for a short season. Partner with your lead pastor. Get his help in proclaiming this vision and start moving things forward.
Many of your comments got my mind thinking. I have a post tomorrow questioning some of the things you said. Stay tuned.
BTW, for the Gateway folks who read this blog, don’t worry, we won’t be requiring anyone to serve. 🙂
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I’ve also worked on both sides of this issue, and currently do NOT require parental involvement. I’ve rebranded it “parenting observations” that we ask parents to do once every 3 months, and this has helped to introduce our ministry to the parents on Sunday AM.
I’m with you about needing to be more creative about getting parents involved, don’t be a nursery nazi!
Whew!!!! Just kidding!
I can see me going back to KQ, just not right now. I love being with kids, but we did it in the past and getting out of KQ was honestly pretty hard. We felt terribly guilty about leaving, even though we served for over a year in there. Then we had to keep telling people over and over that we wanted a break from serving with the kids and that made us feel even more guilty. It was painful. It was hard on our kids to be there all morning and left us so stressed and usually frustrated.
I like the idea of a bigger “God Vision”. I know it’s a tuff situation and my prayers are with all of you who serve in this area.
.-= Karin´s last blog ..I exalt Thee =-.
Okay, that last comment didn’t work so well….
Anyhow, I’ve initiated a “you can’t work” policy for new parents. Though it’s not a hard and fast rule, parents of children under 6 months are strongly encouraged not to serve in the nursery…take a break on Sunday – go, be a part of the church, we’ll keep your little one safe.
.-= Jesse´s last blog ..Infectious =-.
I think we’d be better served if we encouraged parents of children in our Kidmin programs to serve in Student ministries as a sort of parental preparation program. Students let their small group leaders into their lives in a way that can give parents great insight into the world they are preparing their own child for.
Great thoughts, Kenny.
.-= Anthony Prince´s last blog ..Top 10 Childrenâ€™s Ministry Resources: #1 The Collaborating Community =-.