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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