You’re INVITED to SPOIL Staff and Volunteers’ Kids this CHRISTMAS!

Part of Multisite Monday

WHO: Staff and volunteers’ kids who will be at multiple worship experiences on Christmas weekend

WHAT: An area with special programming designed to keep kids engaged and happy during a long ministry weekend. You might call it CHRISTMAS CLUBHOUSE!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • North Pole Workshop (A fun hour of Christmas crafts)
  • Santa’s Secret Shop (Kids can shop and wrap small presents for family members)
  • Polar Express Hour (Watch the movie, Polar Express, serve hot chocolate, and paint wooden trains purchased from your local craft store)
  • Visit From Santa (Have Santa visit your Christmas Clubhouse and hand out small presents to every child in attendance)
  • Winter Wonderland (Make snowflakes out of copy paper and use a blender to serve snow cream or ice cream)
  • Reindeer Games (A full hour of Christmas themed games and team building activities)
  • Christmas Bakery (Let kids decorate and package cookies to give as gifts to their parents and loved ones)
  • Holly Jolly Buffet (A colorful buffet consisting of red and green food and drink)

WHEN: If you have three or less Christmas experience times, you may want to schedule a single Christmas Clubhouse experience. If you have more than three worship experiences, it’s important to consider how many times you are asking volunteers to serve over the course of the weekend. If you have six services, and you’re asking volunteers to serve three of the six, you’ll want to offer additional Christmas Clubhouse experiences. I would suggest two Christmas Clubhouse experiences for every three services scheduled. Make a schedule of events and email to staff and volunteers letting them know ahead of time what activities are planned for each service.

WHERE: Set aside a room or area within your ministry space for your Christmas Clubhouse experiences. If you can’t find space in your current area, connect with other staff members and see what space, outside of the children’s area, may be available. Make sure to station a safety or security volunteer just outside the door, but don’t be afraid to mix it up this Christmas and step outside the norm. The room should be decorated and prepped before kids arrive. You want them to step foot into a magical Christmas land in which they never want to leave. Think you don’t have enough space? Remember you’re going to be removing a good percentage of children from your normal kids programming. This should free up space and volunteers to help.

WHY: It’s going to be an exciting Christmas weekend. Attendance will be up. People far from God will experience the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Families will be reunited and choirs of angels will rejoice as the people of God celebrate His Son’s birth. I know your personal capacity is stretched. I know you’re dreaming about room ratios and spending every extra minute in the craft aisle at Target. You’re busy to the extreme. However, if you want to truly minister and care for those in your ministry, you won’t neglect the families that ensure successful execution week after week. Make the effort. Find the funds. Kids will love you. Parents will thank you. Instead of navigating a Christmas Eve with grumpy, exhausted, bored kids, moms and dads will appreciate the excited stories of their children’s Christmas Clubhouse experiences.

In a Multisite Model, it’s important for each campus kids director to look at the space he or she has to work with and make plans accordingly. Your Christmas Clubhouse experiences may vary from location to location. Find a few volunteers at each campus who love kids and have an abundance of Christmas spirit. Make a plan, give them a budget and hand over the reigns. You’ll be surprised the lengths a volunteer team will go to ensure a Holly Jolly holiday season for the families they serve most often.

I’d love to hear from you. What other fun things are you doing to engage staff and volunteers’ kids this Christmas?

I hope you’ll come back every Monday throughout the month of December as we discuss and unpack ministry systems and strategy this holiday season.

Click here to check out additional Multisite Monday articles.

For more ministry ideas and strategies, check out my new book, Don’t Quit, available now at Amazon or at DontQuitBook.com.

Jess Bealer

9 Ways to Honor and Appreciate Volunteers this CHRISTMAS Season

Part of Multisite Monday

Your programming is nearly complete. The cue sheets are printed. Your rooms are decorated. The holiday playlist is set and your snack bowls are filled with red and green Goldfish. Christmas is coming and you are primed and prepared. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of holiday planning and lose sight of your greatest resource, your volunteers. Here are 9 ways to honor and appreciate those that will serve alongside you this Christmas.

1. Answer questions before they’re asked.

The worship service times are varied. The lesson plan looks different. The number of children in attendance will be nearly double. Christmas is an exciting time of the year for those of us in ministry, but for our teams, it’s also a time of uncertainty. One of the best ways to reassure your volunteers is to answer their questions before doubt begins to creep in. Share your plans and offer encouragement. Provide insight and bring unity before your teams show up to serve.

2. Provide fuel.

Feed them. Your volunteer teams will put in many hours serving and ministering this holiday season. A hungry belly is a distraction easily prevented. Whether you provide snacks, heavy hors d’oeuvres, pizza or a catered meal, keeping your teams well fed is key to a successful serving experience.

3. Give the gift of a memory.

Volunteering during the Christmas season can be a fulfilling experience. Connections are made. Lives are changed and we stand witness. Offer an ornament or framed team picture as a way to look back and remember the impact that was made.

4. Offer strategic break times.

Small groups will be larger than usual, classrooms stretched beyond capacity. Volunteers may be asked to serve longer hours or additional service times. When stress and strain are high, it’s important to offer additional break times to grab a snack or go to the restroom. Schedule an extra volunteer to rotate from classroom to classroom providing well-deserved relief.

5. Connect through prayer and vision.

Everyone on your team has hopes, dreams and desires this holiday season. They may wish for a friend or coworker to attend church for the first time. They may have plans to reunite with family that have grown distant. Some of them are hurting and looking for a reason to smile and celebrate. One of the best ways you can bring unity and show you care is to set expectations, define what a win looks like and connect through prayer for one another.

6. Provide sweet treats and smiles.

A fun and festive atmosphere can make the volunteer experience feel more like an opportunity than a burden. Keep a smile on your volunteers’ faces with a hot chocolate bar or candy buffet offered exclusively to those that serve.

7. Create unforgettable experiences for their children.

It can be difficult to focus when you’re worried about your kids. Consider offering an alternative experience for volunteers’ kids who will be in attendance for multiple experiences. From a Polar Express themed movie hour to a secret Santa shop, the possibilities are endless. We’ll discuss this in further detail on the blog next week.

8. Gift unique and personal presents to leaders.

You may need more volunteers to meet ratios this Christmas season, but you need experienced leaders just to be able to open the doors.  A well positioned leader is priceless. With that in mind…it’s time to spend a few dollars. Make sure those that prove the most committed are gifted with something that says, “I thank you. I value you. I know you.”

9. Celebrate success and recognize excellence.

God is going to use your ministry to move in a mighty way this Christmas. If you believe it, you should anticipate celebration. Schedule a time to reflect, share and party! Draw attention to the seasonal victories your ministry has experienced. Offer praise to those God used to make an impact. Whether it’s a dance party or a dinner, take the time to celebrate success and recognize excellence.

In a multisite model, collaboration is key when it comes to efficient care and effective appreciation of volunteers. Buying in bulk saves money. Sharing ideas produces creativity. At the end of the day, your volunteer appreciation budget and care plan may vary from location to location. However, it’s important to understand the strategy is always is the same. If you want to encourage consistency and longevity among your teams, you must clarify the vision, grant the authority to make key decisions at critical moments, and show honor and gratitude for a one’s contribution. Written as a formula it looks like this:

Clarity + Empowerment + Appreciation = Longevity

It’s a busy season, made easier by those that serve alongside you. Your ministry plan for Christmas should begin and end with showing honor and appreciation to volunteers.

I’d love to hear from you. How are you honoring volunteers this holiday season?

I hope you’ll come back every Monday throughout the month of December as we discuss and unpack ministry systems and strategy this holiday season.

Click here to check out additional Multisite Monday articles.

For more ideas and strategies about appreciating volunteers, check out my new book, Don’t Quit, available now at Amazon or at DontQuitBook.com.

Jessica

An Interview With Gina And Jessica

Nick Blevins Family Ministry Podcast

For those of you in ministry, it may often feel as if your job is to manage the chaos. In our new book, Don’t Quit, Gina and I give you practical solutions to combat the crazy and endure the marathon race that is ministry.

Recently, Gina and I spoke with Nick Blevins about the whys and hows of sticking it out in ministry.

To listen now, click here.

To purchase Don’t Quit, click here.

Jessica Bealer

 

DON’T QUIT Interview

Kids Ministry Collective Podcast

Just a few weeks ago, Don’t Quit, the book I coauthored with Gina McClain, released on Amazon. The response we’ve received has been overwhelming. When we started the process, we wanted to write something that would not only inspire ministry leaders to stick with it for the long run, but also give them practical tips to make the journey easier.

Last week in an interview on The Kids Ministry Collective Podcast, Gina and I discussed many of the topics we wrote about in the book. I hope you’ll take just a few moments to check it out.

Click here to listen now.

Click here to purchase Don’t Quit!

Jessica Bealer

How To Unite A Divided Team

If you’ve ever found yourself a member of a united, successful team, you know it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that clicks. It just feels right. On the other hand, have you ever been on a team that just couldn’t collaborate? For whatever reason the scoreboard was never in your favor, the project never found completion, or a consensus of strategy was never established. In these instances, it’s much easier to identify foundational cracks: lack of communication, no discipline, no accountability, no vision.

The product of time and consistency is unity. The best teams in the world didn’t start out being the best. It took time to develop trust, to recognize and appreciate team dynamics, and to gain confidence as a group. However, as a leader there are a few steps you can take to hasten unity and accelerate trust.

  1. Communication limits mistakes. When training leaders I often say, “You will never regret increased clarity. Over communicate if necessary, but never assume your teammates understand.” I’m not suggesting a weekly two page informative email is the catch all to your problems, but the more clarity you gain as a team, the more success you will find.
  2. Loyalty must be shown mutually. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m with you all the way!” Only to have them depart your team two weeks later. It’s incredibly frustrating. In the past I blamed the fickleness of people in general. However, over time I’ve realized most people who walk away do so because they didn’t feel their loyalty was reciprocated. Your team has to believe you will crawl through the trenches and leap over the hurdles alongside them.
  3. Put your team before yourself. When you’re the leader it’s easy to use your position to campaign your ideas, convince others of their validity, and influence strategy. Before you buck around in the china shop, stop, listen, and consider others’ thoughts and ideas. Your personal agenda has to be set aside for the benefit of the team.
  4. Team discipline unifies your effort towards your goal. Set standards, deadlines, and targets. Then hold each other accountable. Without control and restraint, chaos reigns. Disorder breeds confusion and confusion is the beginning of the end. Your team should set clear expectations of one another and be willing to speak up when those expectations are not being met. A disciplined team is a confident team.
  5. Success must be attained and celebrated together. No one is successful independently. There is a reason why award speeches are long. Your team must learn to rely on and rejoice together as victories are attained. Celebrating success creates a winning attitude.
  6. Keep the vision out front. God has placed everyone on your team for a reason. Calling trumps ability every day of the week. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:37,“…in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Your greatest tool, your secret weapon, the thing that sets your team apart is a heavenly father who created you and believes in you. Never discount calling when calculating success. Keep the vision God gave you out front at all times.

You may not be familiar with the name Pat Head Summitt, but if you’re from any state within the SEC Conference, you know who she is. Pat Head Summitt holds the record for the most wins of any coach in NCAA basketball history of either men’s or women’s teams in any division. She coached the Tennessee Lady Vols for 38 seasons, won 1,098 games, and never had a losing season. She’s also ranked number 11 on the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time, the only female on the list. In short…she’s the best. When asked about teamwork she said, “With a combination of practice and belief, the most ordinary team is capable of extraordinary things.”

Your team doesn’t have to consist of all-stars. Hard work, passion, and discipline are enough to achieve most goals. Strategies change, vision does not. Motivate your team with positivity. Speak to their passions. Hold them accountable. Most importantly, keep the vision at the forefront. When your team is confident in it’s calling, they will pursue excellence until it produces the desired results.

For additional leadership articles such as this, click here.

Jessica Bealer

Empowering Your Volunteer Team

Featured on Orange Leaders

Ants. Everywhere. I looked around the classroom and could feel the sting of tears forming. It was going to be a hectic morning.

I had known for weeks today would be challenging and had done everything in my power to set up my teams for success. It was a long holiday weekend, which meant many volunteers were at the beach or in the mountains with their families. (But we were covered; I had called in reinforcements in the form of staff spouses.) Our church building, which was often rented out by other well-meaning organizations, had been filled with tiny ballerinas and tappers less than 24 hours prior, and they had definitely left their mark. Glitter was everywhere. (But again, no big deal. I had hired a cleaning service and brought my own vacuum from home for a final touch-up.)

However, when I unlocked that room (the one room that hadn’t been touched by sparkles and tutus) and saw the trails of hardworking fire ants streaming across every flat surface, my heart sank. “Oh no!” I whispered. The volunteer standing at my back gasped and mumbled quietly, “I noticed them last week just outside the door. I mentioned it to another staff member. I guess they forgot.”

The Problem You Don’t See Coming

Have you ever been so flustered, so angry that you could feel your face heating? That’s exactly what I experienced in the moment. We could have remedied the problem anytime in the last seven days. There was nontoxic ant spray beneath the sink in that very room. How did we find ourselves in this situation? The volunteer’s next words effectively deflated my frustration. “I’m sorry. You’re just so particular and I was afraid I’d step on someone’s toes if I took matters into my own hands. Would you have wanted me to spray or tell you so you could spray?”

Immediately, I realized my failure. We would fall short of the expectations of the families we served because I had neglected to empower team members to identify viable solutions and make critical decisions. I had micromanaged my ministry to the point of malfunction. I had built a shifting foundation. My need for control had robbed my team members of their confidence and limited their capacity. The irony in the situation was how much I trusted my team. I had recruited incredible people with a varied set of skills and aptitude. They were fully capable of executing with excellence, but my fear of making mistakes and being labeled inadequate was stifling our success. Click here to read more.