If your church is re-opening it may be time to start up your children’s and youth ministry. As a children’s or youth leader you have a team of people who help operate your programs successfully. During online programming and social distancing volunteers may have dropped away, but it’s important to consider what your volunteer situation is as you re-open. Consider these questions as you prepare your volunteers to engage back with in-person ministry:
- How will I ensure sustainable serving? Covid quarantine will provide a natural transition point for some of your volunteers. And, to ensure safety for older team members you may choose to delay their return to serving. If you haven’t yet, NOW is the time to assess your volunteer needs for the coming year and gain commitments. Most likely, you will have fewer children and students in your opening weeks, so staffing with lower numbers will be sustainable for a while. But do recognize that as more families return, you’ll need to increase your volunteer engagement. Leading with understaffed teams will lead to discouragement and burnout.
- How am I inviting volunteers back into serving? Each volunteer should receive a personal invitation that casts specific vision for how his/her gifts and talents will contribute to your ministry’s mission.
- Will my teams feel safe? Share your written cleaning and reopening protocols with your teams. Update your ministry manuals.
- Will my teams know what to do? Create checklists of new tasks each role will be asked to do. For example, will small group leaders be responsible to disinfect hard surfaces and equipment? Provide a list, along with all the supplies and communicate this clearly. Make videos to demonstrate each protocol.
- How will I create a memorable moment to celebrate my team? You’ve been physically distanced for months. Before jumping into serving together, set aside time for your team to simply connect and celebrate being together. Your team will appreciate the care and value expressed by creating this moment.
Don’t forget about your volunteers, they’re one of your most important assets! It may be a time of re-imagining what their involvement looks like, but don’t let them slip away. Connect and communicate with them to ensure continued involvement and a clear vision moving forward.