Make Sure You Don’t Make This Mistake When Writing Volunteer Job Descriptions

childrens-ministry-mistake Writing volunteer responsibilities can be the hardest part about putting together a volunteer job description for Children’s Ministry. Just how much information is necessary? Should you err on the side of too much information or too little? How do you find the balance?

Too Much Detail

Here’s an example of a preschool Sunday School teacher job description that is way too detailed:

Specific Responsibilities:

During the week

  • Make a list of the children in your class and pray specifically by name for each child. Also, pray specifically for the Sunday School ministry.
  • Prepare for the lesson you will be teaching on Sunday by following these steps:
    • Find the correct date on the schedule you will be given and the matching lesson number from the curriculum you will be given.
    • Once you have found the lesson you will be teaching, read over the Bible story it is based in your Bible early in the week and make sure you understand it yourself.
    • Look at the Bible point early in the week.
    • Read through the whole lesson.
    • Choose the activities you will use during the lesson (hook, games, crafts, etc)
    • Make sure you have everything you need. If there are supplies needed that weren’t supplied with your curriculum, they may be in the supply cupboards. Check the inventory list.
  • Be in contact with your team to make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are on Sunday morning.
  • You are responsible for finding a replacement for any weeks you will be absent. Contact the ministry leader at least one week in advance if you are unable to find a replacement for your absence (or as early as possible in the case of illness).

Sunday Morning

  • Arrive at the church at least 15 minutes before the class starts in order to give yourself time to prepare your room and meet with your team.
  • Pray with your team, including your class’s prayer partner, before the children arrive.
  • Note the attendance of each child as they arrive by putting a sticker by their name under the correct date on the attendance chart. Make sure the child have the appropriate identification for pick-up after the service.
  • Teach the Bible lesson in a creative way so that children will learn and grow in their faith.
  • Prepare and serve the snack that will be provided.
  • Stay in the classroom at all times when children are under your supervision. Never leave children unattended in the classroom.
  • Take children to the bathroom according to the Children’s Ministry policies and procedures.
  • Have a fantastic time getting to know the kids in your class, and teaching them about loving God and loving people. Sunday School is a fun ministry. Smile and don’t be afraid to laugh!
  • Report damaged toys/equipment to the Ministry Leader.
  • Report any classroom supplies that are needed to the Ministry Leader (pencils, markers, glue, etc.).
  • Wear your identification name tag whenever you teach Sunday School.
  • Leave room clean, neat, and in good condition after teaching.

Too Little Detail

Here is an example of a job description for a preschool Sunday School teacher that is way to general:

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Prepare and teach Bible lessons for the preschool class.

Find the Balance

The first example had far too much detail for a job description. The second example had hardly any detail at all. When writing responsibilities for a job description, include enough detail so that the potential volunteer has as accurate understanding of the responsibilities of a specific role. It is not necessary to include every single detail of the responsibilities, nor is it necessary to include personal preferences for accomplishing those responsibilities.

Here are some tips for writing responsibilities for Children’s Ministry Volunteer Job Descriptions:

  • If it’s expected, include it – If something is expected of a volunteer for a specific role, include it in the job description. For example,
    • If a volunteer is expected to arrive at a specific time, include it in the job description.
    • If a volunteer is expected to take attendance on a regular basis, include that responsibility in the job description.
  • Include enough information to be clear about responsibilities without going into unnecessary detail.
    • If a volunteer is responsible for teaching the lesson each week, say so without going into detail about how they are to prepare and teach the lesson (save that for training sessions).
  • Differentiate between the responsibilities of volunteers and good ideas for volunteers.
    • In the above example, one of the responsibilities of the preschool teacher is to prepare for the lesson during the week. A good idea for teachers is to prepare early in the week. So, the job description only needs to state that the volunteer is expected to spend some time preparing for the lesson they will teach.
  • Leave space for individual personalities.
    • Responsibilities for volunteers are constant; how each individual volunteer handles those responsibilities is a matter of personality. Don’t make the responsibilities in a job description so specific that individual personalities and creativity is stifled.

Job descriptions are such an important tool for Children’s Ministry leaders and helpful resource for volunteers. When writing job description responsibilities, be specific, clear, and brief.

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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Job Descriptions for New Children’s Ministry Programs

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  1. Download the job description template available here. You will be using it so keep it nearby! This step-by-step guide was designed to be used in conjunction with the job description template. It will not make much sense without it so don’t skip this step!
  2. Download the job description instruction guide available here. It contains hints and tips for completing the template that you may find helpful.
  3. At the top of a piece of paper write down the name of the new program in your Children’s Ministry.
  4. Under that heading, list every volunteer position required for the new program. Carefully review all possible volunteer roles required for this new program. You will want an accurate list before you start writing job descriptions.
  5. Grab a blank job description template and get ready to start filling it in!
  6. The first blank space is titled Ministry Position. Choose one of the volunteer roles to start with and write it in here.
  7. In the blank space beside Ministry Leader write the name and contact information of the person who is in charge of this program. This will be the person that a volunteer will contact with questions, concerns, etc.
  8. The last area to fill out in this first box of information is ministry area. Here you want to provide detail about the specific department, for example, “Preschool Sunday School.” If you are a small children’s ministry this may not be pertinent. If this part of the template is not something you will use, delete it. The great thing about this job description template is that is it customizable. Tailor it to fit your situation!
  9. Once you have filled in the basic information about the volunteer position, it’s time to provide more detailed information. A good job description tells a volunteer how long they are committing to a position. Since this is a new program, you may want volunteers to commit to a full year to give the program a chance to take off. You may be testing out a new program and therefore want a commitment of three months from volunteers. Be specific in this section.
  10. Fill in the amount of time each week the volunteer role requires. This part of the job description template is called “Time Commitment.” Be specific about how much time each week this role requires. Include the time at the program, any preparation time, and any before and/or after program expectations. Since this is a new program, be generous in the amount of time required of volunteers. They would rather discover that it takes less time per week than they thought than more time then they would told.
  11. The next section of the job description is where you will specify the qualifications volunteers need to have in this volunteer position. 2 or 3 requirements should be enough. What do you require of your volunteers? If a background check is required for this position, add it to this section.
  12. A good job description will include the training offered to volunteers in this position. Be specific. What training is currently provided for volunteers in this position?
  13. Finally, describe the specific responsibilities of volunteers for this position. In order to be as specific as possible, record the responsibilities during the week (these would include preparation time, for example) and responsibilities the day of (including set up and clean up). Describe exactly what it is you are asking volunteers to do when they agree to this role.
  14. Repeat all the steps for each volunteer position in your new program.
  15. Give a job description to every volunteer who is considering and/or agreeing to the new position.

Here are other articles that you may find helpful:

Why Do You Need A Job Description?
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Job Descriptions for Current Children’s Ministry Programs

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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Job Descriptions for Current Children’s Ministry Programs

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17 Steps to Writing Job Descriptions for Current Children’s Ministry Programs

1. Download the job description template available here. You will be using it so keep it nearby! This step-by-step guide was designed to be used in conjunction with the job description template. It will not make much sense without it so don’t skip this step!

2. Download the job description instruction guide available here. It contains hints and tips for completing the template that you may find helpful.

3. List all current children’s ministry programs at your church. (You may find it helpful to use one page for each program.)

4. For each program you have written down, list all volunteer positions for that program. For example, if one of your current programs is Sunday School, list every volunteer role for Sunday School – teacher, helper, registration, sub, etc.

5. You will be writing job descriptions for every volunteer position in children’s ministry – but don’t worry – we are going to do it one step at a time. So look at the list you created in step 3 and choose one program to start with.

6. Grab a blank job description template and get ready to start filling it in!

7. The first blank space is titled Ministry. Write the program you have chosen to start with here. For example, “Sunday School teacher.”

8. In the blank space beside Ministry Leader write the name and contact information of the person who is in charge of this program. This will be the person that a volunteer will contact with questions, concerns, etc.

9. The last area to fill out in this first box of information is ministry area. Here you want to provide detail about the specific department, for example, “Preschool Sunday School.” If you are a small children’s ministry this may not be pertinent. If this part of the template is not something you will use, delete it. The great thing about this job description template is that is it customizable. Tailor it to fit your situation!

10. Once you have filled in the basic information about the volunteer position, it’s time to provide more detailed information. A good job description tells a volunteer how long they are committing to a position. Since this is a current program, you will need to find out from the program leader or current volunteers how long they have committed to this particular position. If a length of commitment hasn’t been clearly stated now is the time to figure it out.

11. Fill in the amount of time each week the volunteer role requires. This part of the job description template is called “Time Commitment.” Be specific about how much time each week this role requires. Include the time at the program, any preparation time, and any before and/or after program expectations. Talk with the volunteers in this role. How long do they spend every week preparing for their volunteer position? How long do they spend at their volunteer position, including setup and cleanup?

12. The next section of the job description is where you will specify the qualifications volunteers need to have in this volunteer position. 2 or 3 requirements should be enough. What do you require of your volunteers? If a background check is required for this position, add it to this section.

13. A good job description will include the training offered to volunteers in this position. Be specific. What training is currently provided for volunteers in this position?

14. Finally, describe the specific responsibilities of volunteers for this position. In order to be as specific as possible, record the responsibilities during the week (these would include preparation time, for example) and responsibilities the day of (including set up and clean up).

15. Once the job description is complete, send a copy to the program leader or a volunteer who has been serving in the program for a while. Ask them to look it over and let you know if it is accurate. Their input is valuable, so listen carefully and make changes as suggested.

16. Repeat all the steps for each volunteer position in your children’s ministry.

17. Give a job description to every volunteer who is currently working in children’s ministry. Let them know that you appreciate what they do and wanted to get down on paper what their role is so that there is no confusion and so that new or potential volunteers can see what would be expected of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Do You Need a Job Description?

Children's Ministry Job DescriptionDon’t get scared when you read the words “job description!” I know it sounds very formal and intimidating. It’s really just the writing down of what a specific volunteer position looks like. If you prefer, you can call it a Volunteer Position Description.

Why should you have a job description for each volunteer role in your children’s ministry?

The short answer is so that potential volunteers can easily see what is expected of them.

A good job description will tell them exactly what their responsibilities would be, how much time is required for the volunteer position, who they can talk to if they have questions or concerns, what training will be provided for them, and the length of time they are agreeing to volunteer for.

A good job description is a wonderful tool in the hands of a recruiter.

It’s something tangible to give to a potential volunteer. The recruiter can suggest they take it, read it over, and pray about the volunteer role before they give an answer.

How do you write a good job description?

Here’s a template you can work from. It includes all the important pieces of a good job description. You just fill it in, customizing it to your specific role. You can also use this template as a jumping off point to create your own.

Here is a guide for using the template. This guide describes how to fill in the job description template along with some hints and tips.

 

Let me encourage you to create job descriptions for children’s ministry positions in your church! They are very helpful when you are recruiting. They are also great to have when a current volunteer has a question about their volunteer position.

 

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