Since we’re talking about timeliness, I figured I’d breach this topic since we’re all thinking it.

So, how do you get your volunteers to show up on time? No really, how do you get your volunteers to show up on time?

Every church I’ve been at I’ve experienced difficulty in this area. We’d have volunteers show up just minutes before the kids… or sometimes several minutes after the kids. It frustrates the staff and key/committed volunteers like crazy. So, how do you get them there on time?

This is an issue that I think has a deeper root. It’s actually something that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about, especially in my role here at Gateway. I don’t think the real question is “how do I get my volunteers to show up on time?” I think the real question is, “why don’t my volunteers truly value their role in the children’s ministry?” Honestly, I believe that we show up on time for the things that we value. Even for me, getting to the movies on time to see the previews is a value. So I’m there on time.

Yes, I think it’s inconsiderate that volunteers show up 10 minutes late when they’ve committed to being there on time. However, I’m not convinced that they are the ones to blame. No, really! I think the solution lies with us. Too many of our volunteers are serving because in their mind they’re doing us a favor. They signed up because we needed help and the fact that they’re even showing up is a huge “blessing” for the children’s ministry (this also points to the ineffective recruiting strategies we use at times as well). I don’t think they show up on time because they don’t value their serving in the children’s ministry enough to show up on time. Whether they say it or not, every volunteer is asking the “what am I going to get out of this?’ question in relationship to serving. Right now, my best answer to that question is “to make a difference in the lives of kids.” For many volunteers, that is enough. For others, it’s not enough to make them get their on time. The thing that is challenging me right now (and maybe something for you to think about) is to further develop answers to the “what am I going to get out of this?” question. What if I could honestly answer that question with the following answers:

  • You get to make a tangible difference in the lives of kids
  • You’ll develop deep and meaningful friendships with other adults on your serving teams
  • You’ll be challenged to grow spiritually and given the tools to take the next step in your faith
  • You’ll feel like a part of a community you didn’t know existed

I don’t know, but I just think that if I could provide these experiences for my volunteers, they may just value their role enough to show up on time. What do you think?