Stuck in a Volunteer Training Rut?
Do you have a favorite way of training your volunteers? I do. My favorite volunteer training method is a group training session. I love having everyone together! It’s a great way of fostering team spirit and it is a great way of see right away if the training topic makes sense. There is nothing wrong with having a favorite way of training. But sometimes we can get into a habit of only providing that type of training and forgetting that they are many other training methods.
Spice things up by using a variety of training methods. Here’s a list of 10 different training methods. Mix and match as you plan your volunteer training for the upcoming year.
10 Training Methods
1. Group Training
Volunteers are invited to attend a training event, usually at the church. The purpose of group training is to offer information, ideas, and encouragement to your group of volunteers as a whole or to a specific group of volunteers, like your nursery care workers or your elementary teachers. Meeting together is important. It’s promotes a team atmosphere and offers an extended learning opportunity.
2. Pop-up Training
Pop-up training is short, practical, on-the-spot training. Pop-up training works best when it’s limited to a small, specific group of volunteers. This type of training is about 2-5 minutes in length and focuses on a single issue. For example, you meet with your toddler teachers before Sunday School and provide 5 minutes of training on how to handle a temper tantrum.
3. Video Training
There are a number of different types of video training, but I am going to focus on customized video training through YouTube or vimeo. You or another leader create a short training video specifically for your volunteers and make it available to them on youtube or vimeo. This type of training is convenient for your volunteers as they can watch it at any time. It’s a good idea to put a deadline on viewing the video and to ask your volunteers to respond via email with some thoughts on the content.
4. Conference Training
There is something energizing and exciting about attending a Children’s Ministry conference. Whether you as leader attend or you and a small group of volunteers attend, it is worth the effort every once in a while. It may not be possible for the entire team to go, but you could send one person and ask them to share what they learned with the team when they return. Also, often seminars and conferences offer video or audio online. Encourage your team to watch or listen to a specific seminar
5. Email Training
Children’s Ministry leaders can send regular training tips and ideas via email. Once a month, send out an email to your team with training tips and ideas. Be careful not to send email training too often. You don’t want to overwhelm your volunteers.
6. Book Training
When you come across a good book or magazine article, share it with your team. Encourage them to share their thoughts when they have read it.
7. One-on-One Training
This is mentoring. Grab a coffee with a volunteer and provide some one-on-one encouragement and training. With this type of training you can be very specific.
Partner a beginner with an experienced volunteer. If you have a new volunteer who has never served in Children’s Ministry before, this type of training could be valuable for them. This is training through mentoring. Partner the beginner with an experienced volunteer and training will come through observation and building a relationship with the experienced volunteer. Not all experienced volunteers will be comfortable with this type of training. Meet personally with people you think would be well suited and explain exactly what it will look like. For the beginner, it is an opportunity to watch an experienced volunteer and ask questions as they arise. It is kind of like an apprenticeship.
9. Creating a Handbook
Put together a handbook that is specific to your Children’s Ministry. It should include safety policies and procedures, discipline information, vision, purpose, and mission, as well as anything else you feel will be helpful to your team of volunteers.
10. Webinar Training
Webinars are becoming more and more popular – they are like seminars but delivered over the internet with the seminar provider being in a completely different location. Webinars can be live to a group of volunteers or volunteers can sign in to a webinar from their home computer.
Plan a variety of training methods. In the end, you will be able to provide more training through diversity. Offering a variety of training methods also allows you to be strategic. You an offer specific, highly practical training when you use a variety of training methods.