I was in the cafe at my church recently (Eat Well Cafe). I had been hanging out with the women that run the show over there and getting their opinions on some of the artwork for upcoming BibleRhymes stories. That night I was working on pictures (for my poetry that has nothing to do with BibleRhymes). I sketched out a chef and my light-bulb turned on. I realized the cafe could use some coloring pages for kids that are eating.
As an aside, when I speak of upcoming stories, when David and Goliath is released, it will look quite a bit different than the pictures I’ve posted. There’s a new David, Goliath, King Saul, David’s brothers (pretty much everything in the book)… but I digress.
Coloring Books are Coming!
It’s been a couple weeks since I sketched that chef and now I have seven BibleRhymes stories turned into coloring pages—that’s over 135 illustrations. When I get all of the current pictures converted, there will be over 300 pages to color.
Some of the drawings will be easier for younger children. Some will be much more detailed and challenging. From the reviews I’ve received, people of all ages will have fun with these pictures.
Today I’m working on putting all of these pages into ebook form (at BibleRhymes.com people will be able to download pdfs to print). The current plan is to give the files for a couple of the coloring books away to any church or church school that asks.
I want people from all over to have fun with these pictures. And I’d love to see the pictures that people color linked to at BibleRhymes on Facebook. I even challenge parents and kids to each color a page then show their skills by posting a photo! Hashtag #BibleRhymes
Make a meaningful difference (you’ll be filling a real need).
Develop skills (that carry over to careers)
Volunteer work looks nice on a resume.
“What is the essence of life? To serve others and do good.” – Aristotle (Greek philosopher)
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4: 10)
Can sign up as a trial volunteer.
No long term commitment necessary.
If you love it, stay on with the team. If you want to try a different area to serve instead, do NOT feel guilty.
Akin to a photo-board you may see at a coffee shop, have a volunteer of the month and a photo of a person in each ministry.
This would not only be so they feel recognized, but so that potential volunteers know they’ll be appreciated.
It could also give motivation for volunteers to be extra diligent.
Would showcase all of the different teams that people could volunteer with.
Seeing pictures with a name would help people not as familiar with the church get to know some of the people that help the church to reach the community. And maybe it would help them envision themselves in one of those pictures.
It doesn’t have to be a photo-board, but do something that will show that the church really values the effort that volunteers put in. Not everyone needs a pat on the back, not everyone is even good at accepting gratitude, but for some people, even a little gesture may mean a whole lot.
This may just require that the head pastor goes around the church giving handshakes to everyone. Think about it, talk with colleagues, and brain-storm some ideas.
How often are the church kids (of all ages) introduced to the concept of volunteering?
Have the children’s pastor (or someone) take a couple kids every week to help clean the coffee station, or hold baskets to collect things and say goodbye to people with the ushers (some type of appropriate duty).
Have teen / college pastors preach it (repeatedly) and point towards opportunities that fit kids’ skill sets and personalities.
I’d have a board hanging on a wall at the church. A big one. And a list of opportunities with specifics—perhaps a section of one-time needs (sick person needs snow shoveled) and one for ongoing (usher at 10am service). Not just saying “usher duty,” but saying, “Usher Duty: from 10-12, smile, greet people, hand out programs, seat people, help with collections…”).
One of the first buttons on the website should be named “Volunteer.”
I would suggest that the current “Serving” page be more detailed, and be a primary button rather than a drop-down. It should be as easy to find volunteer opportunities as it is to donate money.
It would help website SEO (search engine optimization), and it would clarify for readers if that page were maintained with something like the “Volunteer Board.” Would take about two minutes of time to set up the format.
Whoever is in charge of your content management system (CMS) should be familiar with getting all of your pages SEO green-lit.
I am familiar with your CMS if you need pointers on the SEO, or html code for your “Serving / Volunteer” page.
Evaluate all ministry programs. How resource (labor) intensive are they? Do they still all provide expected benefits?
Too many programs, and too many volunteer hours used, without valuable return can lead to volunteer burnout. There will either be less volunteers, or less perky ones, which will lead to a lower-quality visitor experience.
If not enough people are volunteering, are there too many Bible classes or other church activities that are taking up all of their time? I could list a myriad of Bible verses that tell people to serve. But sometimes, rather than reading, people need to be doing.
Don’t misunderstand. A person still can get plenty of Bible reading in if they traded in some Bible study groups for volunteering. But by volunteering, they are bringing the Bible to life—and that can inspire even more people to serve.
Summary / Notes
With a big volunteer board with specific job openings, and a big volunteer of the month board in the lobby (or maybe a volunteer board in the hall by the kids, one in the lobby, and one in the hall by the teens) it will start being subliminal.
With messages from pastors, from growth groups, maybe a placement in every program the church hands out, the idea of volunteering will be a repetitive (sinks in) theme. But it is a theme that is so fundamental for Christians.
These Volunteer Ideas
This write-up was put together for a particular church. It’s posted here because it may be helpful, and spark ideas for others.
Your ideas about volunteer recruiting are welcomed!
I read a lot of websites. One of them had the above Aristotle quote. I can’t pinpoint which site that was, or else I would provide a link to them. I do want to credit resources when credit is due.
I’m about to pack up my Wacom tablet because for my Friday morning I’ll be taking a trip to the Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. At the school, not only will I be reading the kids some of my books, and showing them some of my pictures, but I’ll actually show them how illustrations and books are created from scratch.
Writers in the Classroom: Part 1
The last time I went to Sacred Heart I took my tablet as well. The children loved seeing pictures that were still in the illustration program. They could see how the illustrations are developed in layers. One minute a book character is standing there in whole, and one click later he’s missing an arm, or sword, or maybe some armor appears.
Pretty much whatever the kids want to see happen to the picture that I open up, they get to see. Last time they had me drawing a pair of sunglasses for a leopard in one of my online Bible stories, BibleRhymes’ Creation.
Got What I Wanted!
I didn’t realize as a kid that a phrase from the card-game “Go Fish” was going to be applying to my career choice and life as a whole. “Got what I wanted!”
When I’m sitting with a classroom full of kids, showing them the tricks I’ve learned of my trade, and supporting the faith their parents and teachers are trying to instill in them, then I got what I wanted. The curiosity and energy in the room is invigorating. And I’m thankful.
Now I need to get this tablet packed up so I can catch a few hours of sleep so I’ll be prepared.