Whether you need helpers for summer camp or a weekly Sunday School class, teen volunteers are a good source of excitement and are usually willing hands and feet. From pre-teens to teens, it is a good idea to include volunteers in your volunteer lineup. Younger kids gravitate towards teens and they can help a great deal with keeping kids focused. However, because of their closeness in age and varying maturity levels, teen volunteers in children’s church may also be a distraction. The best way to circumvent potential problems is to have a reliable screening and training program. Working with teen volunteers in children’s church can be a joy if you are prepared to harness young energy!
Create a Teen Volunteer Application
I made my own application using my computer and printer but there are plenty of these online too. For my volunteer application, I ask for basic contact information including contact numbers. I also pose questions like, “Why do you want to work in children’s ministry?” and “What’s your “super” power?” I also ask for adult references and I do call these. I staple an abbreviated version of our guidelines to the application and ask the applicant to initial it. When teens fill out an application for service in children’s church, they can see that I take the position seriously.
Have Teen Volunteer Guidelines Ready to Go
Before you bring on new volunteers, have a handbook ready detailing what you expect, in and out of church. It’s a good idea to host a quarterly training session to bring everyone together. Your volunteer guidelines for children’s church should include these points:
Cast a vision. Share your children’s church vision. For example, “TNT is teaching and training that rocks.” This will help teens understand where they fit in!
Give a list of reasons to serve in children’s church. They may not know why they want to help; you need to clarify the acceptable reasons for volunteer service. The positive reasons could be, learn more about the Bible or learn how to teach a children’s ministry class. Negative reasons could be looking for a boyfriend or to hang out with friends.
Provide specific job descriptions for specific positions. Teens need some direction. What should they do at the craft table? How do they serve during praise and worship? Are they expected to set up or clean? That should be included in job descriptions.
Go over your social networking rules. Protect your children from unwanted exposure to social networking experiences by asking teens to keep their cell phones in their pockets.
Talk about the hands-off policy. There should never be any reason for a teen to grab or physically manhandle a child. No piggy back rides, excessive hugging or hanging on the teens.
Discuss your discipline program. What should teens do if kids misbehave? How do you keep order in your classroom? Teens need to know how things work in your ministry.
Talk about the “potty” policy. Protect children and teen helpers by issuing clear directives about restroom times. Privacy and safety should always be respected and encouraged in children’s ministry.
Be honest about your expectations. If teens don’t worship, they won’t serve in children’s church. Teens need to clap their hands, stomp their feet and sing-a-long!
By working out the details ahead of time, you’ll create an exciting volunteer experience for everyone involved!