Tips for Selecting and Training Great Volunteers

Tips for Selecting and Training Great Volunteers
May 7, 2019 Bob D'Ambrosio
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May is the perfect time to start the process of recruiting and training your fall volunteers. Carefully selecting and training team members may be the most important thing you can do to make sure you have a safe and secure children’s ministry program.

Here are a few things to consider.

Basic qualifications
First determine the qualifications necessary for working with kids. Some considerations for an applicant might include spiritual maturity, church membership status, or a minimum-age requirement.

Application process
Do you have an application process? Do people apply in person, at a kiosk, via bulletin inserts, or through a written form? Are there personal interviews, classes, references, or background checks included in the process? Create a system for people who express interest in volunteering, and make sure all potential volunteers go through the same process.

Background checks
What sort of background checks will be conducted, and which positions will require them? A person making phone calls from home won’t need the same level of screening as someone who works directly with kids. Add this requirement to the job description for each position that requires screening.

Approval criteria
What effects will a person’s lifestyle, character references, background check, and spiritual maturity have on the approval of his or her application to serve in ministry? Does the applicant understand these standards? Determine what may disqualify someone from serving in the position applied for and have a plan in place to redirect that person to a role that’s a better fit.

Appeals process
Nonprofits have been sued for wrongful dismissal—even by volunteers! Having a clearly written appeals process policy, which involves the pastoral staff or the church board, is vital for all employees and volunteers. Determine who will oversee the appeals process so procedures will be handled with care and confidentiality.

Staff handbook
Compile all your policies into a staff handbook. The handbook should contain procedures, standards, and screening processes that pertain to the ministry. Have new recruits sign acceptance statements regarding ministry policies at the beginning of their service.

Training
Adequate training is crucial. An untrained team member can claim ignorance or blame the church in the event of abuse or a negligence issue. Training could include an orientation, monthly training meetings, online video training, on-the-job training, or ministry conferences.

Start looking now for great people to staff your ministry, and then train them to be successful. Doing this will jump-start your fall and build a strong foundation for a safe ministry year.

To discover a proven process for recruiting and equipping volunteers, Group U offers an online course on this topic. Register today and work through the self-paced training 24/7 on any device! For more info go to:  https://www.group.com/category/training-and-events/online/courses/the-life-strategy-for-recruiting-and-equipping-volunteers.do

– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.

(We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!)

Bob D’Ambrosio is a 25-year veteran of front-line church ministry and now serves with Group’s content solutions team. He trains on volunteer equipping, blogs for Refresh the Church, and a ministry coach with Group U. Bob is a contributing author and general editor of the E4:12 Bible study series Better Together: Connecting With God and Others and, Leading Out: Connecting People to Purpose.

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