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Some great tips from Christine Yount-Jones about how to improve relations with your volunteers

I’m going to share some great tips for internal public relations (adapted from an article written by Keith Johnson for CMMag). 

1. Publish your good news. 

If you don’t tell people about the amazing things happening in your ministry, how will they know? I used to create a weekly one-page newsletter for our ministry. Not only did I give it to every child and parent, but I also put it in the mailboxes of our elder board and staff. I included big and small successes in this newsletter. And it was amazing to see how “for” our ministry our church leaders were because they knew God was moving.

So include stories about kids coming to Christ, families joining your church, great discoveries (those are the big ones). But also include stories about a child who shared his faith with a friend, a child who prayed out loud for the first time, a team member who expressed great joy in service.

I can tell you that, because we did this, whenever we asked our leaders for something (a new VPU, window coverings, whatever), they were more than eager to help us out. (That, and they were amazing people who loved to see Jesus on the move!)

The next two ideas are:

2. Deliver more than you promise.

3. Celebrate EVERY success.

4.  Share your stories with “megaphone members.” 

Keith Johnson writes, “There’s always someone in your church who’s the first to know everything. … Take them to breakfast once a month to fill them in on your secret successes. … Your stories will become legend as they’re repeated throughout your church.”

I think another twist on this is to use “holy gossip.” Talk about the good things people are doing in your ministry. When that bit of “gossip” comes back to the person, it’ll be a positive affirmation. Plus, the good stories get shared with others. For example, say, “You’ll never believe what Tom is doing with his small group” or, “I’ve discovered that Roma has a secret musical gift our kids love in worship time!” Always share the good news about others!

5.  Attend the right meetings (when your ministry is being discussed).

6. Make the good better.

7. Change the wattage of your light bulbs (no more dim hallways).

8. Freshen up the smell in your nursery area.

9. Don’t play hooky!

(Says Keith Johnson: “Attend at least one church service each Sunday. It’ll do your heart good, too. Attend with your family and sit together. For extra credit, sit together toward the front.”)

I’ll never forget the day our executive pastor Tom Davis asked me why he hadn’t seen me in church. I hemmed and hawed and couldn’t come up with an answer. I was busy! I was doing ministry! There was so much to get done on a Sunday! Thankfully, he didn’t let me off the hook! He challenged me and told me it wasn’t acceptable for me to miss Sunday services just because I was leading the children’s ministry.

Oh, and the other thing … it’s not OK to be there physically but not mentally and spiritually. It’s so easy to sit there and remember things that didn’t get done or worry about the new volunteer in the room with the challenging class. Pray … Ask God to calm your heart and mind. And then discipline yourself not to sit there and make lists and be absent in heart and mind but present in body. If you need to, jot a note to yourself and then get back to listening for God’s voice!

Believe me … people are watching … and they want to see if we value the church as much as we want them to. So don’t play hooky! It’ll do your heart—and your ministry—good!  

Christine Yount Jones From Christine Yount Jones, Executive Editor for Children's Ministry Magazine and Children's Ministry Professional Edition. Reprinted by permission, Children’s Ministry Magazine, Copyright 2009, Group Publishing Inc., Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539.

More from Christine Yount Jones or visit Christine at http://www.childrensministry.com

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