The Equipper Newsletter
October 1, 2008
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

When Parents Volunteer
by Karen Kogler

"Helicopter parents." If you work in children's ministry, you know these parents who continually hover protectively over their child. They're often eager to volunteer, not so much to help out leaders, but to make sure Miranda isn't picked on by the other kids, or that Johnny doesn't hurt himself, or that Edgar's nose gets wiped promptly, or that the teacher truly appreciates the many talents of wonderful little Tracy! Even when you need more volunteers, you might not be happy when these parents volunteer. They don't always make your task easier.

Yes, parents who volunteer to help with a group specifically because their child is a participant can be a challenge, especially when the parent has trouble granting the child appropriate independence. But overall, parents make excellent volunteers.

  • Most serve and enjoy the other children as well as their own.
  • The shared participation of parent and child can be a wonderful experience, with life-long memories.
  • Parents benefit by seeing their child in a different setting, and by getting to know other children and families.
  • Many excellent groups, such as scouting groups and athletic teams, are staffed almost exclusively by parent volunteers.
In the church, all God's people have time and talents to use in His service, even helicopter parents. You can handle the challenge of helicopter parents by using the following strategies that actually benefit all volunteers, not just parents. If you're a children's ministry leader, train your teachers to use them, too.  Finish this article
Serving and Mission
Helping people serve is intimately tied to the church's overall mission. These nuggets from the internet reinforce that topic or demonstrate ways a church can impact its community through service.
  1. Volunteerism is promoted in society as well as in the church. That's a good thing. But Dr. Tom Cocklereece asks an interesting question -- "Will the church sit on the sidelines while secularists take our place in the volunteer arena?" -- in his blog posting, Volunteerism and Civic Engagement. "It's time for the sleeper to awaken and be the church," he says.
  2. Recent natural disasters again provided the church an avenue for serving the community. In an opinion piece on Hurricane Ike from a Texas newspaper, the author notes "Local agencies, churches, city worked in rare harmony."
  3. Here's a pastor who is taking volunteers out into the community, way out, to the gangs who roam the streets. Read "Without Preaching." 
  4. The times, they are a'changing. So says Dr. Robert Newton in "How Will They Know?" from the newsletter of the Center for U.S. Missions. No longer do people naturally come to the church, he explains. We must go to them. And community service is a perfect way we can go out with deeds and words of love, together.
Great recruitment idea
A new and different way to recruit technology volunteers is in "Why a Ministry Fair Won't Work for IT." Anyone have ideas for adapting it to other ministries?
My blog
Recent postings in my blog: "Recycling Volunteers" and "Finding Time."

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The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources