At Sojourn Church Midtown, the church where I serve as a pastor, we're now using a series of training videos both to equip parents as disciple-makers in their homes and to orient and update our children's ministry team on our ministry policies and procedures as well best practices when teaching kids.
I'm planning to share these videos here at gospelcenteredfamily.com as we release them to our church community. This first video is designed to orient new volunteers in our children's ministry. It outlines three things: (1) a gospel-centered vision for children's ministry, (2) what is required to serve as a volunteer, and (3) what volunteers can expect.
Here's a brief outline of the content:
Jesus said, “When you welcome a child in my name, you welcome me.” That’s why children’s ministry exists. At Sojourn Kids we want to show kids Jesus so that they grow up to be like him and then in turn go to tell others about him.
We are seeking to do this in several ways. Here are two of our goals. (1) We’re striving to create safe and welcoming environments where we can build relationships with kids and their families. (2) Next, we want to connect kids and their families to Christ in the way we sing, teach, and play.
That’s where you come in. Your faithful service as a member of one of our Sojourn Kids ministry teams makes it possible for us to accomplish this. And as you use your gifts serve children, I believe God will use that to grow you as well.
Requirements as You Begin Serving
So, where do you begin? All Sojourn Kids ministry team members must be Sojourn members or members in process. In addition, middle and high school students who are involved in Sojourn’s student ministry can serve as a third person assistant in classrooms alongside an assigned mentor. You must complete the volunteer application that you can find here http://sojournkids.com/get-involved, submit to a thorough criminal background and reference check, and complete the required basic training videos or checklists that cover our ministry philosophy, safety and security policies, and abuse reporting policies. If you’ve already completed the application, you may have an invitation to complete one of these requirements in your e-mail Inbox right now. After these steps are completed, we’ll set up a time for you to observe in a classroom on Sunday to see what role might be the best fit for you.
What You Can Expect from Us
As you are serving in Sojourn Kids, here are six things you can expect from us as your leaders.
- Expect to hear from us every week. We’ll send weekly communication that includes our schedule and the curriculum we’ll be teaching at our upcoming weekend gatherings. That communication will tell you what supplies we’re providing for the weekly lessons and tell you about any additional items you may want to bring as a supplement to your teaching.
- Know that we’re praying for you on a weekly basis as you live as you prepare to share Jesus with Sojourn’s kids.
- You can also expect that every open classroom will be staffed with at least two fully vetted volunteers.
- Then, we will equip you with educationally excellent, biblically faithful curriculum that focuses on Jesus.
- And we’ll create training resources like this video and conduct regular formal training meetings to help you grow your skills.
- Finally, if there is ever anything you need, please ask us, your Sojourn Kids staffers, as well as the coaches and coordinators that lead in your service areas each week.
What We Expect from You
Last of all, before you begin serving, it’s important for you to know what we expect from you as well. Here are five quick things.
- It is really important that you arrive on time. Volunteer teams huddle before the service begins (times vary by Sojourn location) so that we can open the doors for parents early.
- Second, please prepare well. Read the Bible passage for the week. Think about it and pray that God will help you understand it. Even if you are not the primary teacher in the classroom, study the lesson and be ready to help out.
- Watch these training videos and read through our policy checklists. But don’t just read them, commit to follow these policies and implement them when you serve.
- When, you have to be away, post a request for a substitute in our online group at least two weeks in advance. And if you have to be out at the last minute because you’re sick (It happens. And please don’t show up if you have the flu!), just call or text your service leader.
- Finally, after you’ve observed at a gathering and found a volunteer role that seems like a good fit for you, let us know. We ask that all volunteers commit to serve for a covenanted time period (commitment cycles vary by Sojourn church location) This provides stability and continuity for the children in your classroom, and it gives you a season of service to consider whether or not you’d like to make longer-term commitment to children’s ministry or take a look at serving in a different Sojourn ministry area.
This is a 101 walkthrough of what it means to serve as a volunteer with Sojourn Kids. Hope it's helpful as you consider equipping children's teams at your church. Stay tuned for another Sojourn Kids 101 training video next month!