I believe language has the ability to destroy or unite. Your words can either undermine or advance your ministry. A strong set of values can give you a lens by which you measure each system, initiative, or strategy.
In eKidz, we tried to keep them simple and concise. Here they are, in order of importance.
We Will Make It Safe.
We Will Share Jesus With Passion.
We Will Bring The Fun.
We Will Connect The Family.
You may be thinking, “Safety comes before Jesus?” Yes, it does. Parents must feel comfortable with your environment before they are willing to entrust you with their child. Safety comes first…always. At Elevation, one of the ways we strived to give parents peace of mind was through the implementation of a t-shirt policy. Every kids volunteer at every location is required to wear a blue eKidz t-shirt while serving. It’s ingrained into the volunteer culture.
Of course, there were objections. With the introduction of any new strategy, there will be some level of resistance. However, if you have defined values and a common language, it’s much easier to create unity among your teams.
Here are four common objections you will encounter with a new t-shirt policy, as well as possible responses you might use to clarify the vision.
Objection: “I don’t want to wear the same thing to church every week.”
Your Response: “I understand. The t-shirt offers parents peace of mind. It says we trust you, as a volunteer, and it relays that you are operating on behalf of the church. Maybe you could bring another shirt to change into once your volunteer role is complete?”
Objection: “My shirt is faded, stained, too small…”
Your Response: “I’m so sorry! If you’ll tell me your size, I’ll go get you another one or I’ll ship it to your home this week. The t-shirt helps new parents easily identify kids volunteers, and we always want to simplify things for our first time guests.”
Objection: “I forgot it at home. I’ll remember next time.”
Your Response: “Ok, that’s no big deal. I keep a stash of spare t-shirts. If you’ll just bring it back to me at the end of the day, I’ll wash it and have it ready for the next volunteer who needs it.”
Objection: “It’s just so bland.
Your Response: “I understand. You are more than welcome to customize it. You can bedazzle it or accessorize it, or even wear a cardigan over it. We just want families to be able to easily identify the volunteers that will be caring and ministering to their children.”
Be prepared. If you’re planning to make this shift, I would encourage you to cast vision on the front end. Prepare your teams weeks or even months in advance. Allow them to suggest color options or even design. Clarify your reasoning and get your leaders onboard and able to communicate the why behind the shift. Remember to use your ministry’s unique language to create unity throughout the process. If you haven’t yet created a set of values, that’s your starting point. Bring your staff and key leaders together. Determine what’s most important. Then develop a common language that clearly expresses those intentions.
For multisite, a t-shirt policy can be an easy way to unify your campus strategy and prioritize safety. It’s also a source of comfort for parents when they attend a location that isn’t within their normal routine. It feels familiar and soothes anxiety. It’s a small touch that can make a big difference in a multisite model.
Have I convinced you yet? If so, you’re going to need talking points.
What’s the benefit?
- It helps your safety or security team identify who should and shouldn’t be in your kids area.
- It reassures parents the person they are entrusting with their child is a legitimate volunteer acting on behalf of and within the authority of the church.
- It conveys excellence.
- It surpasses parents’ expectations.
- It’s a familiar comfort to the children you minister to.
If your church or ministry has implemented a kids volunteer t-shirt policy or you are in the process of doing so, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.
I hope you’ll come back to FamilyMinistry.Church every Monday as we continue to unpack multisite ministry.