Last time, we discussed the need to assess children’s ministry volunteers to protect your children’s ministry from potentially harmful people. How do you evaluate a volunteer, especially in a small church?
1 Develop an application for service. Request background checks. Ask for references. Talk to people who know the person. Don’t be afraid or worried about what the volunteer might think if you don’t readily accept the offer to help. Background checks, applications, and requests for references are a common practice in schools, day care centers and large churches. Besides, it’s biblical. Your leaders should be held to a higher standard. Much is at stake – the lives, minds and eternal destiny of our young people.
2. Eliminate the practice of asking for volunteers unless you specifically state that volunteers must go through an application process. A far better recruiting approach is to pray, consider people in your congregation, then approach them about serving. If your church isn’t ready for a formal application process including background checks, consider this approach. If anyone volunteers on their own, don’t accept their offer immediately. Establish a process where they must meet with you, understand the job description, meet with other workers, agree to training, or be willing to serve as an apprentice.
3. Test your worker. 1 Timothy 3:10 says, “Let them first be tested and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.” Have a policy stating that workers must have been church members for a certain length of time. Don’t dump a brand new Christian or even a new member from another church into a teaching position. Once the person starts to teach or help, set a probationary period of three to six months and make sure the person agrees with the time frame. This will give both the leaders and the volunteer a way out if their service isn’t working out.
4 Go on your gut instincts. If something doesn’t smell right, it’s probably rotten.
5. Assign the volunteer to work with a veteran teacher. The team approach is a biblical concept and protects the church from liability.
6. Have a plan of action now even though you don’t think you need it. Then, if you do have a questionable person come into your congregation who volunteers to work with the children’s or youth ministry, you don’t have to scramble to create an application and job description that hasn’t been used for anyone else. Small churches don’t usually have this level of organization, yet this is what makes them so vulnerable. You will be protecting yourselves and your children by having a plan in place now.
8. Pray for wisdom. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send the workers.(Luke 10;2). Rely on the Lord for your workers, not on yourself. Pray for discernment. Pray specifically that God send you godly leaders.