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“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
How to: Encourage Your Volunteers to Use Your Check-in System
By Danielle Harper
TreeHouse Kidz Team at RiverTree Christian Church and Ideas to Impact Conference 2012 speaker
Now that you have picked out a check-in system for your children’s ministry, whether it’s ACS Checkpoint, The City’s children’s ministry module, or something else, the big question is: how do you encourage your volunteers to keep up with the system? The security is as only as good as the people you have helping uphold it. As you are training volunteers how and why it is important to use the your church check-in system, there are ways you can encourage continued compliance from your volunteers.
1) Vision. Always answer the question “Why?” People will follow something they understand and believe in. Educate all volunteers about why we use ACS Checkpoint. One of the best things to discuss with a volunteer is this: even if you know the person who lost their tag belongs to that child, the person behind them sees when you don’t check the security tag and then assumes security at the church is weak. Talk to your volunteers about why it only takes one bad situation to ruin all the good that has been done.
2) Lead by example. Make sure you always have your tag when picking up your own kids. If you lost your tag make sure volunteers go through the proper steps in verifying you belong to your child. I never let anyone slide on checking out of the room. If they’re nervous or uncomfortable with telling parents “no,” offer to deal with any person who lost a tag. Serve your volunteers by “being the bad guy” at the door.
3) Praise volunteers doing good. People do what they are rewarded for. I stand back and just observe teachers checking children out of our classrooms. I make sure to verbally tell them on the spot when they are doing a great job. Take the time regularly to send a hand-written card thanking them for their hard work or for an exceptional instance.
4) Role play. When people feel equipped and ready to handle any situation, it is easier for them take action during those difficult situations. Practice in front of each other, talk about how to handle difficult situations, or what to do when a parent loses a tag. Plant “testers” to “lose” their tag so you can watch them in action and give praise or helpful feedback when needed.
5) Cold hard facts. Talk to your volunteers about how many kids are in your ministry and how many from broken homes, foster homes, or adopted. Share stories of kids leaning about Jesus in your ministries, and have parents who value the system share why they appreciate the added security Checkpoint offers.
A great tool needs to be an effective tool. Having your volunteers on board 100% with the your church check-in system, whether it’s ACS Checkpoint or another tool – is crucial. Be creative and keep talking about the vision of why you use Checkpoint, not just when you first launch it. Take the lead and people will follow!