Many single moms’ ministries are launched, grown, and sustained by volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any church. Servanthood is the way we show others that we care. Single mom’s ministry is one of those tough ministries that can oftentimes require much of the volunteers who serve there. There are many questions that come up in how to best recruit, retain, and train volunteers for such a high-need, high-level ministry.
Here are a few things that we have found work best:
1. Don’t assume you only need one “type” of volunteer. We all tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us. If we’re a Type A, organized person, we search for those types of volunteers. If we are a creative, we look for creatives. If we are an extrovert, we gravitate towards extroverts. There are all types of volunteer opportunities within a single moms support group, when ran effectively, and you need a wide range of skill sets represented. You will need childcare providers, prayer partners, set-up/clean-up crew, food service, speakers, small group leaders as your group grows, greeters, registration table, social media gurus, and more. The larger the ministry grows, the more opportunities there are for others to come alongside and help serve within the ministry. This takes a wide array of volunteer types. The more the merrier. (Note: Yes, you can use single moms as volunteers! We are often asked can you place single moms in volunteer or leadership positions! Yes, it’ll give them a reason to come back time and again!)
2. Volunteers do not have to be single moms, but please feel free to use single mothers that are already in your support group to fulfill a volunteer role. This is great for a couple of reasons. Volunteerism gives people value. It gives them something to do when they may feel uncomfortable just sitting around waiting on the event to start. When single moms have something to keep their hands busy before a single mom’s meeting starts, they feel like they are part of something and it creates a sense of purpose. Secondly, single moms that are already part of your group see the value in what your church is doing, so they are more likely to be faithful volunteers.
Looking for teaching materials for your single moms’ ministry? The Life of a Single Mom offers a wide array of teaching materials, including 3 single moms’ Bible studies that include a Leader’s Guide and Study Guide. We also offer great bulk book purchasing discounts. Check out the materials in our TLSM Store HERE.
3. Volunteer training is critical. Too often volunteers enter into a role very excited about serving others, but when they aren’t trained properly, they feel that they aren’t being best utilized. Set them up for success. Give them ideas on what works in their area of ministry and what doesn’t. Once they get started, have discussions with them about what is going really well and what they need help with. Create regular meetings with the volunteer team, outside of just your single moms’ ministry nights. During those meetings, be strategic about training on tough areas. Solicit their insight and have candid discussions about how to grow the ministry and grow themselves.
4. Promote team-building with your volunteers by having a casual get-together. Volunteers who serve together in single moms’ ministries should know each other well, interact outside of their service area, and create an alliance. It will not only make them feel more comfortable working together, but will make new single mothers feel even more comfortable when they visit your group. The more the team grows, the more the single mom’s ministry grows.
5. Allow your volunteers to rest. When volunteers are serving in single moms’ ministry week after week, month after month, they can grow weary. Be certain you are communicating with volunteers well enough to know when they are approaching burn-out and need rest.
6. Diversify your volunteer team. We all want to go somewhere where others look like us. It makes us feel comfortable. Your volunteer team is a reflection of your ministry. When possible, ensure you have both young and young-at-hearts. Consider what racial diversification is represented. Those things may seem trivial, but they are hindrances that not only can plague your single moms’ ministry, but are a major factor in why churches aren’t more diversified. Single mothers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, socioeconomic backgrounds, and stories, and it is our job to minister to them all.
7. Nurture your volunteers’ spiritual growth. It is important to note that volunteers need to stay spiritually healthy to avoid burnout, so pour time into their spiritual health. Do a devotional with your volunteer team on a regular basis either online or in-person. Offer check-in calls to ask them how they are doing, but also to explore the tough issues, such as sexual purity, bitterness, unforgiveness, or things that the volunteers could be silently battling. Let the volunteers know you care about them personally, far beyond their service to the ministry.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask other church members to volunteer. Keep ministry cards in your purse that have your contact info on them and can offer information on what you are doing in the single mom’s ministry for single mothers. There are people in your church who love to cook, sing, pray, Facebook, organize, teach, greet, and so many other tasks you need for your ministry. The more volunteers, the merrier! This will rapidly grow your single moms’ group and bring great advertising exposure to the ministry. The more people who are involved, the more people will learn about this great and necessary ministry.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com