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Yesterday I was in a meeting with a few of the fpKIDS staff team. After recently losing members of our team, we’re in a re-org mode and working through the realities of being down two staff members.

When we take inventory of the tasks and ongoing projects, a general sense of mental fatigue and worry hovers just under the surface.

This sense has little to do with the ability to take on more tasks.  Each team member is capable and willing to take on more.

It’s the understanding that as we increase our workload, the quality of our work declines.

That thought might be more palatable if our product was a series of widgets or trinkets that suffered from a lower level of excellence or some plastic whatchamacallit that doesn’t really have a major purpose in life.

But that’s not our product.

Our product is relationships and experiences.

Experiences for Kids

First and foremost, we work to create experiences for kids that engage them—physical and emotional environments that engage, nurture and connect with kids from infants all the way to preteen. That’s a broad range of development.

It means we’ve got to be knowledgeable about infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, and early to late elementary school age. Mix in there the variation of kids, like those with special needs, and it adds another layer of specialized skill.

It means that we are constantly asking the question, How will this impact a child? How will this connect with a child? How will this equip a child to know Jesus?

Experience for Volunteers

Every campus fpKIDS team is intentionally small. At most campuses, there is only one paid staff member. This means we have to walk out Ephesians 4:12 and equip other Christ-followers to do the works of the ministry. This is by design.

And as we equip volunteers to love, teach and build relationships with kids, we know that great volunteer experiences create longevity.

If a volunteer knows what they need to do and has the resources and skill to do it, then they feel like they can win. People won’t last long if they don’t feel like they can win. So great volunteer experiences is important.

Relationships for Kids

Faith is transferred through relationship.

If you look back on every major turn in your personal journey, I promise there is a face and a name attached. Every time you drove a stake in the ground and chose to stretch yourself to believe something you’ve never dared to believe before, there is a relationship—a person attached to that decision. God uses relationships to nurture change. Especially spiritual change.

It’s our goal to equip volunteers to build relationships with kids so an adult can invest time, love, words and a multitude of other things into the heart of that child over time. (By the way, there’s this great book that talks about some of this. If it’s not on your reading list, add it to the top today: Losing Your Marbles, Playing for Keeps.)

Relationships for Volunteers

Let’s face it: Things are more fun when you get to do them with friends.

So we want to foster friendships within our volunteer team. It’s one of the main reasons we ask people to invite their friends to join the team. We know it will enrich their own volunteering experience. And (again) a great volunteer experience creates longevity.

These are our products.

And when a team is functioning at a deficit, these products suffer. That’s not very palatable.

What do we do about this? How do we move forward? What do we define as acceptable outcomes in a situation like ours?

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

For the original article, visit ginamcclain.com.

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