8 Hidden Volunteers—and How to Recruit Them

If you’re willing to dig a little deeper to find awesome hidden volunteers with amazing talent, get ready to look in places you haven’t before!

Some volunteer position matches seem to be obvious. We so easily gravitate to schoolteachers to fill roles in our classrooms because schoolteachers usually have the skills, passion, and gifts that fortify our Christian education program.

But what about the multitude of potential volunteers in your church who aren’t professional teachers? There are people in your pews who have hidden talents and competencies you may’ve never thought about tapping for your ministry.

How can you see beyond the obvious? All you have to do is open your eyes and ears. To get you started, check out these surprising ways people could serve in your children’s ministry.

Hidden Volunteer #1: Construction Workers

Obvious Role: When it comes to set design and repairs, children’s ministers are always grateful for these wonderfully skilled folks. Another great role for construction workers is training kids in basic construction skills.

Surprising Role: These people live and breathe “codes” and safety policies. So why not invite them onto your team to help develop your ministry’s safety and security policies?

Your Pitch: “I know you’re highly skilled in thinking about safety and security issues in your job. Would you like to share that expertise with our team in developing codes and procedures to build a ministry that keeps our kids safe?”

Hidden Volunteer #2: Retail

Obvious Role: Who better to stock and organize your supply cabinet than someone who organizes products day in and day out?

Surprising Role: People in retail are trained in exemplary customer service. So why not have these people help train your greeters in the fine art of friendliness?

Your Pitch: “We need help in training our greeters to do the very best job greeting folks in our children’s ministry area. Could you share some of the professional training you’ve received about treating your customers with care?”

Hidden Volunteer #3: Emergency Workers

Obvious Role: These trained workers are the best people to have on hand for possible emergencies that may arise in your ministry. In addition, they’re great at training kids and staff in CPR and basic first aid.

Surprising Role: If there’s anyone who understands what it means to “lay down their life” for others, it’s emergency workers. When they get a call, they don’t know what they’ll encounter, but they’re trained to put their lives on the line. Why not have these special people share about their commitment to saving lives and helping others? Their vision could help your staff and kids make the transfer to what it means to lay down their lives for their friends or people who need Jesus.

Your Pitch: “I’m so grateful for what you do for our community, and I know you put your life on the line to save people. Could you share that special calling with our children’s ministry to inspire all of us to a deeper commitment to others?”

Hidden Volunteer #4: Professional Technical

Obvious Role: These specially trained people, such as engineers and computer scientists, are usually gifted at analysis. So an obvious role is to invite them into any budgeting or planning process you have.

Surprising Role: Because these professional technical workers have to work with schedules and deadlines, they’re perfect for bringing in to brainstorm your annual calendar. Have them help you work backward from your deadlines to create a doable timeline.

Your Pitch: “One of the things that would make our ministry much stronger is to have a detailed plan for meeting our deadlines. I know you must be very strong at that to be so successful in your work. Could you join our team for a few hours to help us be successful?”

Hidden Volunteer #5: Agriculture

Obvious Role: Turn to these gardeners, farmers, and greenhouse workers when you’re looking for greenery to beautify your facility.

Surprising Role: No one understands the components that are required to grow plants better than these folks. So why not transfer that skill to helping your staff better understand how to grow children? You could call this talk “A Gardener Looks at Sprouting Children.”

Your Pitch: “Our deepest desire in our children’s ministry is to help children grow in their relationship with Jesus. I know you understand what can enhance or harm growth in plants. Would you be willing to share that information as a metaphor with our staff to help us understand how we can enhance our kids’ growth?”

Hidden Volunteer #6: Publishing

Obvious Role: Recruit these wordsmiths to help with your ministry newsletter, website, or any other publications you produce.

Surprising Role: People who work in publishing often have an insatiable curiosity. They’re trained to ask questions and get the story. Things can go awry in your ministry, such as dis­gruntled team members bickering or families deserting your church in droves. And there are times you just can’t figure out what’s wrong. So why not recruit these people to help you sensitively search out the real reasons to the issue?

Your Pitch: “I appreciate your ability to get the story and dig deep for details. We have a very tough situation in our ministry that requires sensitive and skillful investigation. Would you be willing to share your skills with our ministry to help us arrive at a confidential and peaceful resolution?”

Hidden Volunteer #7: Administrative Assistants

Obvious Role: These people make a living providing administrative help to people who must lead and delegate. So the obvious role for these people is to assist you or others in detailed work.

Surprising Role: Of course, every person differs in abilities and personal strengths, but administrative assistants have the unique role of working closely with leaders. Day in and day out, these people are critical to a leader’s execution of his or her vision. Leadership is bound to rub off. So why not recruit these people to lead ministry areas and apply everything they’ve been mentored to do?

Your Pitch: “You’ve provided such important support to your boss for all these years, and as I’ve watched you, I’m convinced that your boss’ leadership has rubbed off on you. Would you consider taking all you’ve learned and use it to lead children to Christ?”

Hidden Volunteer #8: Food Service

Obvious Role: These people are perfect to help with providing a great service experience for church meals and get-togethers.

Surprising Role: Ever wondered why the little voice in the fast-food drive-through speaker asks, “Do you want fries with that?” It’s a value-added philosophy. Fast-food restaurants have figured out that since they have your attention, it’s easy to add one more thing. Ask these folks to help you understand how you could add value to everything you’re doing in your children’s ministry.

Your Pitch: “Would you consider helping us look at everything we’re doing and brainstorm ways to add value or additional benefits to what we’re already doing?”

Want more volunteer management ideas? Check out these articles! And for even more ideas and daily posts of inspiration, follow us on Facebook!

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