Is Too Much Asked of Church Volunteers?

Gina-McClainI could write a book. But I won’t. If you’ve been in children's ministry for any amount of time, you’ve visited this topic.

What level of commitment do we ask from our children's ministry volunteers? How much is too much? Is a weekly commitment too much to ask?

In kids' ministry, I’ve swung to each of these trains of thought over the years:


1. Once a month

2. Every other week

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3. Whenever you can

The manner in which we attempt to work around everyone’s schedule in order to make sure that their volunteer role is in no way a burden to them is comical. It borders on the desperate.

Don’t misunderstand. I have no issue with making sure that a volunteer is placed in the right role—that they have a schedule that works well for them. But is it possible to take this too far? Can we lose the element of sacrifice that makes serving so rewarding on the back end?

Let’s consider the two key components of kidmin: the kid and the volunteer.

What is best for the kids? If our ministry is designed with the kid in mind, then how do we structure our volunteer team in a way that is best for the kids?

Great programming is wonderful. And there are many quality products on the market. But without the relationship, the impact is minimal. It is not the programming the makes a ministry great. It’s the people.

So, if relationships are the vital component, then what is the best way to foster relationships?

An "every other week" volunteer will spend a total of two hours per month attempting to establish a friendship with the kids in their group. Can a friendship be established and maintained with that amount of time investment? How about trust? What if that child misses a week due to illness, vacation, etc.?

These are tough questions. But they lead to one point: Consistency is the best tool to foster relationships among volunteers and their kids. Consistency is maintained through a weekly commitment.

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

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