6 tips for making volunteers feel loved

maryWe all know those precious people who volunteer at VBS and throughout the year in the children's ministry. They tirelessly invest in the smallest (and most energetic) of church attenders without a whole lot of accolade. As someone who has been the teacher when a child eats her take-home sheet or when only one out of ten kids can even tell you what you taught, I can tell you that your volunteers need a pat on the back every once and a while to remind them that what they are doing matters.

Here are a few simple ways to love on your volunteers:

1. Recognize their dedication and service to children. Create times to celebrate and encourage your leaders with a volunteer meal, dessert party, or thank you breakfast. (Food is ALWAYS encouraging.) Remind them that what they do is making an eternal impact in the kingdom.

2. Live life with them. Celebrate when their children get into the college of their choice or when they get married. Pray with them when a family member is sick. Know them, and let them know that you care about them, not just their presence in one of the classrooms with your favorite little people.

3. Remember their birthday. A card or a small thank you gift will mean the world, simply because you took the time to remember.

4. Ask them for feedback and help with vision. Let them know that their opinions matter. They are the expert on the hour they spend each week with their specific kids. Let them know you value them and the wisdom that they have.

5. Train them well. Communicate with them often and set them up for success. Your volunteers will enjoy serving when they feel prepared and can spend the majority of their time building relationships and investing rather than trying to figure out basics of classroom management.

6. Communicate often.  Touch base with them after they teach to hear what went well and what maybe didn't go so well. Help them stay in the loop even if they have taken a week off.

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