VBS season is in full swing. If your church hasn’t yet heldVBS, most likely your plans are well underway. If your VBS dates are on the church calendar but you haven’t started planning the details yet, grab a piece of paper and the phone and get busy!
No matter whether you’ve completed your VBS program, holding it this week or planning it for later in the summer, one of your top concerns is staffing yourVBS program. It’s a good idea to reflect on the staff you chose, praying over each choice. There’s much to consider in choosing your volunteers:
- Competency. Are the people you’ve chosen skilled for the task you want them to do? Are they doing what they are gifted to do? If they are gifted but not skilled, will the postion you give them help develop their skills and boost their confidence?
-Maturity: Do your recruits have the spiritual maturity to represent Jesus faithfully to the children you serve?
-Love: Do your recruits have a love for children, a passion to meet the children’s needs and a vision to help them become all that they can be in Christ Jesus?
-Compatibility: Have/Will the recruits work well with the other volunteers in their department?
I’d like to talk about compatibility for a few minutes. Over twenty years of VBS experience, I’ve learned how important this aspect of volunteer recruitment is. Pairing certain people together can make or break a VBS program. It’s almost better to put two lesser skilled people together who do work well together than with a highly skilled person who doesn’t work well with others.
There are two groups of people: leaders and followers. Be very careful in pairing two leaders together. Their leadership qualities need to be tempered by their love for the children, their maturity in the faith and the development of the fruit of the Spirit of kindness and gentleness in their lives before they will work well together. Otherwise, they will compete with each other, each trying to insist on their own way. Or the stronger of the two will dominate and the other, trying to be gracious, will step aside and let the more dominant take over.
I’m thinking of two examples where I saw compatibility work. One year, as VBS director, I chose a woman to be my assistant who I wanted to disciple. She refused at first. “I’m not a leader. I don’t like telling people what to do. I make a much better follower,” she told me. I told her I still wanted her as my assistant, that I respected her ideas and her creativity. She proved herself invaluable. She had great ideas and I had the leadership skills to coordinate people and make the ideas happen. All during the week of VBS, she was at my elbow, anticipating my needs, brining me things, playing “go-pher,” asking what else she could do. She respected that I was in charge and that her role was to help me “make VBS happen.” It took someone with a follower mentality and a servant hearted attitude to make an ideal assistant. If my assistant had been someone who had her own ideas and who argued with me on each decision, VBS definitely would not have run as smoothly.
The other time was last year. My daughter was asked to be the craft director. She loves crafts, has developing leadership skills but lacks experience. She asked a retired art teacher to be her assistant. This lady is very creative, has worked for years with children, yet was a naturally kind person and had the maturity and graciousness to let the leader lead. Even though she was three times the age of my daughter, she made suggestions without being pushy and allowed my daughter to be the one who made the final decisions, always showing respect for her in front of the children. My daughter respected her expertise and was willing to ask for her advice.
When you choose teams of workers, you don’t want to pair two very strong and combative personalities. Nor do you want to choose two people who are naturally “followers” or who are timid in leading others. Examine each person’s strengths and weaknesses then pair up people so one person is strong where the other is weak.
Next year, as you select your teams, consider scheduling a meeting where you administer a personality test. Check out this test: Also check out Florence Littaur’s book, Personality Plus. If you don’t have time for this, ask each volunteer what their birth order was. You’ll understand a lot about your volunteers just by knowing where they fall in the birth order of their families. An excellent resource on this concept is The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman.
I say again, pray about your recruitment choices. You may not have all the information you need to pair the right people together, but God knows the hearts of man and He in His wisdom can and will guide your decisions.