In my experience, it is always a challenge to get people to show up for children’s ministry trainings. We share the dates early but people tend to have last minute things come up. When we over communicate, people still forget. When we make it mandatory, people still do not attend. Even when you offer free food, some people come but overall many volunteers are still missing. The bottom line is that it’s a challenge to get all your volunteers to show up. I don’t have a magic idea to get 100% attendance but I do have a couple of ideas for why they may not be showing up.
- You Lack Of Agenda. This could be a big culprit for why your trainings are not highly attended. People notice if you’re unorganized and shooting from a hip. Your volunteers are giving up their time to be there so respect them and make sure you offer something informative. Planning ahead can help add some useful elements to your presentation and ensure that your meeting is meaningful.
- You Are Dull And Boring. People do not want to sit in a room for an hour and listen to a lecture. Volunteers can get bored. When you plan out your meetings keep in mind the different styles of learning and formulate your trainings to exploit each of these styles. Keep things moving and more importantly be interactive with your audience.
- You Have Too Much Agenda. There is a balance; too much and people will walk away with nothing. I know the value of getting everyone together at one time but make sure you do not “shove” too much into your training; if you do volunteers walkaway gaining nothing from their time. It’s hard, but cut the fat and stick with a clear purpose.
- You Start Late And Run Late. Respect the people’s time. The truth is we live in a culture where we sometimes cater to people who show up late. That is nice but extremely disrespectful to those who show up on time; start on time. In turn, finish on time. This is out of respect to your audience and the need to keep their attention throughout the whole training. As you may know, 10 minutes before the end, people are already looking at their watches and beginning to disengage.
- You Are All Business. When your meetings are all about practicalities of children’s ministry; the meaning of why-you-do-what-you-do gets lost. Every time my team meets I remind them that they are ministers of God’s Word to the families of our church. It’s important to educate and train your volunteers but remember that they are followers of Christ first. Worship as a team, pray together, break into small groups….spiritual health is important.
I would love hear other observations that children’s ministry leaders may have when it comes to conducting trainings. Trainings are important for both the ministry, the stability of our team and the safety of the children. Continue to have trainings regularly and remain dedicated to improving the atmosphere/experience of your children’s ministry training.