Volunteer or Voluntell?

In Children’s Ministry, should we require all parents who drop off their kids to be on the rotation of volunteering in the ministry (pending, of course, passing a background and reference check and having a good attitude)?

Or, should we only hand-select volunteers based on their gifts and talents?

Whenever I have led a Children’s Ministry, I have always done it the latter way, but I am open to the idea that requiring parents to serve could have some positives to it.  Our Children’s Ministry team had a discussion about it the other day.  Here are some of the pros and cons that I can come up with:

PROS: You have more people on the rotation (which ideally means a more sustainable schedule of volunteers).  You give people a chance to serve in ministry who might otherwise not sign up for something like this.  Children get to see their parents teach, lead, and serve in church sometimes.

CONS: You could get bad attitudes.  You might get a few parents that shouldn’t be working with kids in the first place.  And what about new families?  Do we just plug them in on their second week?  It could be difficult to draw a line between “new” families (who shouldn’t have to serve) and “regular” families (who should serve in this scenario).  You might push out non-parents who would be even better volunteers (singles, students, youth, adults without kids, etc.).

So, what do you think?  Is it worth it when weighing the pros against the cons?  What does your Children’s Ministry do and what works for you?

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Jesse Joyner travels nationwide performing a comedy juggling act for family and kids events. He is also working towards his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Kezzie.

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