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Nurturing supporting religious education volunteers

Nurturing & Supporting Religious Education Volunteers

Presented by

Patricia Infante, Regional Faith Development Consultant, CERG

Jan Gartner, Lifespan Faith Development & Youth Ministries Consultant, OMD

Webinar basics
Webinar Basics

  • Top Menu Bar:

    • Emoticons

    • Message Box

  • Right side of screen:

    • Attendees

    • Message Box

Lighting our virtual chalice
Lighting Our Virtual Chalice

Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.

~Maya Angelou


  • Please introduce yourself by sharing the following:

    • Your Name

    • Congregation Name

    • Your role/job in the congregation

    • Approximate Congregation Size & RE Enrollment


  • Recruiting Volunteers for your Program

  • Orienting & Equipping Volunteers

  • Communication

  • Ways to Support Volunteers

  • Keeping Volunteers Motivated

  • Appreciation & Recognition

Why do people volunteer
Why do people volunteer?

  • relationship to the person who asked

  • feel honored/respected/flattered to have been asked

  • love for the institution/giving something back

  • desire to put faith into action

  • to connect with others

  • desire to accomplish a goal

  • recognition and feedback

  • personal growth

  • sense of duty

Special Challenges:

  • the oxymoron of “obligatory volunteerism”

  • The polarity of call versus duty


Explain the role:

  • Big picture:

    • How is this role/task a ministry?

    • Why is it important?

    • How does it strengthen congregational life and/or deepen kids/families' connections to the congregation?

    • How does it complement and/or simplify the work of others?

  • Specifics:

    • Time commitment

    • Scope

    • Expectations


Formal and/or informal orientation

Foster competence and confidence

Clarify the role

  • Remind volunteers of the big picture

  • Specifics:

    • How-to’s

    • FAQ’s

    • Parameters

    • What can volunteers expect from you?



  • Stay connected

    • weekly email to teachers

    • mid-year check-ins

    • your ideas?

  • Provide relevant info

    • Church happenings, important reminders

  • Remind volunteers of the role of staff/program leaders

    • Providing supplies, finding subs....what do you do?

  • Two-way communication

    • Encourage volunteers to contact you – when/how to do so

    • Request honest, constructive feedback



  • tips, how-to’s

  • fun or inspirational quotes,

    song lyrics as part of communications

  • pastoral support

  • provide a mentor

  • help transition out when ready

  • your ideas?

Customize your support
Customize your support

Find the right balance of

  • directing

  • hand-holding

  • empowering

    for each volunteer.

Volunteer appreciation recognition
Volunteer Appreciation & Recognition

  • Ritual Recognition

    • Volunteer Dedication

    • Volunteer Appreciation

  • Ongoing

  • Two Way Communication

  • Team Meetings

Keep congregation informed involved in recognition
Keep Congregation Informed & Involved in Recognition

  • Thank volunteers by name in your newsletter. Early & Often!

  • Display teacher/volunteer photos & bios

  • Create bulletin board space for classroom photos, teacher affirmations.

  • Different color nametag

Keep volunteers connected to the larger community
Keep Volunteers Connected to the Larger Community

  • Make sure they know how to obtain copies or podcasts of sermons.

  • Leave a copy of the weekly order of service in each classroom.

  • Provide a book for recording Joys & Concerns

  • Arrange for Sunday’s Off

  • Ask Minister to write letter of thanks

End of the year recognition
End of the Year Recognition

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.

~ Pierre Corneille

Gift ideas
Gift Ideas

  • Small gift such as a book, a pin, a plant

  • Handmade cards or gifts from children

  • Equal Exchange Chocolate

  • Handmade Chalice

  • Class Photo

  • Uni-Uniques

Evaluation of volunteer service
Evaluation of Volunteer Service

  • On-going and End of Year

  • Self – Evaluation

    • What worked well for you?

    • What skills do you need to develop further?

    • Did you enjoy your volunteer task?

    • What advice would you offer to the next person who fills this role?

  • Team/Program Feedback

  • Firing a Volunteer

What if a volunteer quits
What If a Volunteer Quits?

  • Is the job too big?

    • Divide it up

    • Ask two people to share responsibility

  • Is the job necessary?

    • Just because you used to do it, doesn’t mean it is necessary now

  • Is it something you should pay someone to do?


  • R.E. Road Map: An Administrative Guidebook for Religious Educators; get order form from Cindy Leitner,

  • for Scripts

  • for Motivational Pins & Gifts

  • Reach-L Archives

Closing thought
Closing Thought

If we all tried to make other people’s paths easy,

Our own feet would have a smooth even place to walk on.

  • ~ Myrtle Reed