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Recruiting and Keeping Volunteer Staff
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Recruiting and Keeping Volunteer Staff


children's ministry training workshop by Verda Rubottom entitled, "Help is On The Way! Recruiting and Keeping Substitute Staff

children's ministry training workshop by Verda Rubottom entitled, "Help is On The Way! Recruiting and Keeping Substitute Staff

Published in Education , Spiritual
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  • One of the biggest challenges in ministry for children’s pastors and leaders is finding enough workers. Without a good staff of teachers and assistants we can’t accomplish all that God has called us to do in our ministry to children. Yet, finding qualified people can be a real challenge. As a children’s director of a large church for 7 years, I saw the need first hand. For our Sunday and weekday programs, we needed approximately 80 to 100 people to staff our children’s areas every week. I remember getting those “Saturday night phone calls” when teachers would call in to say that something had come up and they wouldn’t be able to teach. Usually it was an illness or family emergency. But getting these kinds of calls occasionally (or even weekly) is inevitable, and it’s important for us to be prepared for them. One solution to this on going challenge is to develop a substitute staff of teachers and assistants. In this workshop we’ll discuss how to recruit substitute teachers and workers—and how to can keep them. But first let’s look at the reasons for organizing a substitute staff and the benefits to your children’s department.


  • 1. Help Is On The Way ! Recruiting and Keeping Substitute Staff by Verda Rubottom
  • 2. Why a Substitute Staff?
    • Emergencies
    • Illness
    • Family Crisis
    • Vacations
    • Teacher needs a leave of absence
    • Teacher wants to attend adult class
  • 3. Organizing a Substitute Staff
    • How to Recruit
    • How to Train
    • How to Keep
  • 4. Reasons People Hesitate to Serve
    • Not enough time
    • Not willing to make a commitment
    • Feel unqualified
    • Not sure what’s expected
    • Spouse does not support involvement
    • Feel they have “put in their time”
    • Don’t want to miss adult class or service
    • Don’t feel called to children’s ministry
    • Already involved in another area
  • 5. 1. How to Recruit
    • “ Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1:17
    • Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
    • Matthew 9:38
  • 6.
    • Pray for guidance and wisdom
    • Be specific in your prayers
    • Expect God to provide the workers you need
    • Be willing to wait for God’s timing
    • Prepare for the workers God will send your way
  • 7. Spiritual Qualifications
    • Born again believer
    • Faithful attendance for at least 6 months
    • Has attended pastor’s class, membership or similar class, or has transferred from another church.
    • Is in agreement with basic beliefs of your church
    • Supports the mission of your church.
  • 8. General Qualifications
    • People who are good role models for children
    • People who really care about children
    • People who understand the nature of children, and their characteristics
    • People who are patient, kind and even tempered.
  • 9. Look for People with Irregular Schedules
    • Retired people
    • School teachers
    • Military personnel
    • Firefighters
    • Hospital workers
    • Police officers
    • High school and college students
  • 10. People with Special Circumstances
    • Newlyweds
    • New parents
    • Earning a degree
    • Working two jobs
    • Taking care of elderly parents
    • Physical limitations
    • New Christians
  • 11. Recruiting Steps
    • Prepare job description.
    • Have children’s department application forms available.
    • Follow your church policy for approving potential teachers.
    • Share the need, and opportunities
    • available.
  • 12.
    • 5. Meet personally with prospective workers.
    • 6. Invite to workers orientation meeting, or regular staff meeting.
    • 7.Give curriculum sample for volunteer to examine.
    • 8. Allow volunteer adequate time to make their decision.
  • 13. 2. How to Train
    • Have substitute staff meeting once or twice a year
    • Invite subs to regular teacher’s meetings, but don’t require their attendance.
    • Have teaching materials, resources, books and training seminars available for your subs as well as for regular staff.
  • 14. Substitute Packet
    • Class schedules
    • Curriculum sample
    • Children’s department mission statement, policies
    • Discipline policy
    • Map of church site, classrooms, restrooms, Sunday school office, media/resource room
  • 15.
    • Safety and security policies
    • Well baby policy
    • Job description of substitutes
    • Nametag/ID
    • Bible story color sheets
    • List of children’s staff & phone numbers
    • Parent’s newsletter
    • Games
  • 16. Tips for Substitute Teachers
    • 1. Arrive early
    • 2. Follow plans, but be flexible
    • 3. Locate restrooms, exits, offices, ushers
    • 4. Follow church policies
    • 5. Use nametags
    • 6. Greet with confidence
    • 7. Have something to do, begin with prayer
    • 8. Don’t abandon rules
    • 9. Be positive, pleasant
    • and patient
    • 10. Share a story, or play a game
    • 11. Have a sense of humor.
    • 12. Follow check out policy.
    • 13. Contact absent teacher
    • 14. Compliment children
    • 15. Pray for children’s requests.
    • 16. Stay in contact with the class.
  • 17. When you Need a Sub
    • Prearrange times when you can contact your sub volunteer
    • Approved subs may be contacted by dept. leaders or teachers
    • Keep list of phone numbers and emails of workers at home and office.
    • Alternate teachers and “team” teachers, may also serve as subs
  • 18. 3. How to Keep Substitutes on Your Team
    • Recognize subs as a vital part of your CE team. Connect them with other staff.
    • Match up assignments with their ability and interests.
    • Respect their decision to say ‘no’ when they aren’t able to fill in.
    • Respond to concerns and needs ASAP.
  • 19.
      • Provide staff phone numbers/ email.
      • Keep sub-staff updated (email, letters).
      • Remember birthdays and send notes of appreciation.
      • Include in department social events.
    • Pray for them, and encourage them to develop their teaching gift.