Volunteer Retention: Podcast with Caleb Brown

Volunteer Retention Starts with You.


Let’s start with a rhetorical question: Do you ever have all the volunteers you need? We say “rhetorical” because, in over 70 years of working with local churches, we have never heard a yes to that one. 😉

When staffing is problematic, leaders are not the only ones who stand to become frustrated. Every church has experienced it at some point; the same volunteers seem to step up for every event because they can’t say no with a clear conscience. Even if they don’t say it, they eventually get burned out and maybe a bit resentful.

There are ways to effectively find, train and retain volunteer leaders who are happy to be there and who make your ministry a place where kids grow to love Jesus forever.


Step 1: Slow Down and Evaluate How You Spend Your Time

As children’s ministry leaders, we believe the most impactful use of our time is to equip parents and volunteers. Yet, the activity we spend the least amount of time actually doing is equipping parents and volunteers. If we can’t create more hours in a day, how do we solve our problem with simply not having enough time?

What areas of your life impact child discipleship?

Look over your schedule again and circle all the times you come alongside of a child to help them grow spiritually. Do those things fall into themes? Which five themes do you spend the most time doing? Write those in the area provided below and note the number of hours per week you spend doing each.


Evaluate Your Time

What activities would make you a more effective child disciplemaker?

What do your child activity themes reveal? Are you most effective when you’re engaged in your top five? Or are there discipleship activities and themes in your schedule you wish you had time to engage in more often? Are there things you wish you could do, but — I know, you’re probably thinking, Have you seen my schedule?! — you can’t imagine how you could fit them into your life? Well here’s your opportunity to dream. If God gave you endless days with boundless energy, and you were free to fulfill the discipleship desires of your heart, what activities would you do to be more effective at child discipleship? In the space provided, write your top five objectives in order of priority.

Step 2: Know your flock, and make sure your flock knows you.


Do you know your flock?

Volunteers are people to be loved, not just spots to be filled. If you want to be a good leader, follow in Jesus's footsteps and get to know your flock.

Read the Article

Does your flock know you?

Your volunteers need to hear what God is teaching you. You earn their trust when they see you shepherding the children in your church and experiencing the same transformation you preach on a weekly basis.

Read the Article

Looking for more resources?

  1. Read The Faith of Our Children (and check out this virtual book club!)
    for more insight into how Children’s Ministry Leaders spend their time.
  2. Complete our self-paced course, “Building a Healthy Volunteer Culture.”
  3. Help your volunteers feel valued by asking these 8 questions.
  4. Here are 21 ideas to help you retain volunteer leaders.