Why You Need a Volunteer Organizational Chart in Children's Ministry

Do you have an organizational chart for your children's ministry?
Do you have an organizational chart for your children's ministry? (iStock photo )

As a ministry leader, higher elevation is critical. We miss a lot when our heads are constantly in the "weeds" of ministry.

Whether you lead in a small church or large church—multiple worship services or single; one location or many—if you lead volunteers, you need tools that help you see things from a broader perspective.

You need tools that allow you to recruit and build a team out of preparation rather than desperation. An organizational chart is critical.

I've led volunteer teams without an org chart. And I've led volunteer teams with an org chart.

Life is simply easier with one.

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An org chart is the visual representation of the volunteers on your team and how you lead them. The benefit of putting that information in the form of an org chart is invaluable. It's amazing to me how the perspective is clearer when you get something out of your head and put it on paper.

Needed & Known
We can all agree that your average volunteer wants two primary things ... to feel needed and known.

Feeling needed speaks to our desire to be a part of something significant and to contribute in a meaningful way. Feeling known speaks to our desire to be connected and for others to know what's happening in our lives outside of the time we serve.

I believe an org chart helps a ministry leader meet these desires:

1. First, the chart identifies the roles on the team and who fills them (needed).

2. Second, the chart identifies who cares for each person on the team (known).

Here's how they work together:

If you're anything like me, you can trend toward crazy. I have so much going on in the midst of the seven-day cycle, that simply keeping up with where my "need" is feels like a moving target.

Let me give you an example. Within the past five days, I've had four different conversations with various volunteers that go a little something like this:

Volunteer No. 1: "I think I need to step out for a while. This new job has changed our family schedule and I'm not sure I can continue to fit this into our Sunday morning."

Volunteer No. 2: "My wife and I would like to shift from the third service to serving at the first service so we can be more consistent. Let me know when we can make that happen."

Volunteer No. 3: "I'm so excited to start serving. Where do you need me most?"

Volunteer No. 4: "I'll be out the next eight weeks recovering from surgery. I can't wait to get back to be with my group!"

Can you relate? Do you have similar conversations?

They aren't wrong. They aren't travesties. They simply are what they are. Real life.

How do you keep up with who should be where and when?

If you manage more than a single worship service where you schedule volunteers, then you understand the difficulty. The more services offered, the greater the complexity.

There needs to be a way to clearly see what your needs are, who is filling them, and where you still have gaps. An org chart allows you to define these in specifics.

Let's take the conversations referenced above and look at them from a different angle.

There are a many things to keep up with when it comes to volunteers. It's not just their serving schedules, but with what's happening in their life.

  • Who will check in on the one who stepped out due to a hectic schedule?
  • Who will welcome the couple transitioning from one volunteer team to the next?
  • Who will apprentice the new volunteer ready to serve?
  • Who will reach out to the volunteer recovering from surgery?

You could take on the task yourself. You could even assume that someone on your volunteer team will take care of it. But we all know that our personal span of care can only stretch so far and my dad taught me the definition of assume a long time ago.

Neither are sustainable options. An org chart allows you to visualize how volunteers are loved and cared for in your ministry.

It's important to clarify: An organizational chart is different from your weekly scheduling tool. Whether you use an online scheduling tool (in other words, Planning Center Online) or old-fashioned pen and paper, your weekly scheduling tool helps you keep track of who is here each week and who is not. It's a snapshot of your team from week to week.

An org chart is the bigger picture of your team from a higher elevation.

Your weekly schedule tells you what to expect this Sunday. Your organizational chart tells you how your team is led and equipped.

For helpful tips on how to equip your volunteer leaders to lead your team, check out "5 Things to Help Volunteers Lead Better"

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children's ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. For the original article, visit ginamcclain.com.

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