Big Group Coaches

image courtesy of via flickr
It was a couple of years ago, in late spring or early summer, when I spoke with a fellow staff member in Children’s Ministry.  Our church had just grown to four services, over two campuses, and she was responsible for scheduling all the Big Group volunteers (drama, band, AV) for each service.  That often meant that even last minute changes came through her over the weekend, via email or phone.  

As we recognized that our church was continuing to grow, that this responsibility that feel to her was not sustainable.  Scheduling these volunteers (probably a total of 50-60 folks) consumed about 30% of her time.  Plus, we were robbing others of the opportunity to take on a leadership role, as I described in 4 Great Reasons to Have Volunteer Coaches.   We had already been using Coaches for Small Group (classroom) volunteers, but never for Big Group; I wanted to implement Big Group Coach role.  

But this staff person came back with me the reasons why she wanted to continue having the responsibility to schedule volunteers:
  • “We had never had Coaches for Big Group before.  Who would do this?  What all would they do?”
  • “I know who is best for each part, especially in our skits.  Someone else wouldn’t know that.”
  • “What would I do with the rest of my time?  I don’t know what that would look like.”
  • “What if it doesn’t work?  How would we undo all of this?”

In each of these points, she was absolutely correct, and I told her so.  We had never had this role before, and didn’t know what type of person to do this, or how it would go.  And these new Coaches probably wouldn’t do as good of a job as this staff person was doing.  And I had no idea how she would use her newfound time.  But I asked her to pursue this and try it for 6 months.  If it was going horribly, we would scrap it and find another solution (like hiring a part-time person to do this scheduling).  

We learned a lot as we moved forward.  We raised up some Coaches that were already serving on that team (band or drama) already, and some who came from other service areas.  These Coaches started connecting with their teams, and learning where everyone needed to fit in.  We had some kinks to work out, but I feel like this was one of the best things implemented in Children’s Ministry while I was on staff.

And I knew this was true when I had chances to hear this staff person talk to people from other churches.  She always included something like, “You know what we did that made a huge difference for us?  We started using Coaches . . .”  This staff member had more time to give to developing curriculum and more time for equipping leaders.  Even better for her personally, she had some breathing room.  She rarely got any more Saturday afternoon phone calls or emails, in which she needed to figure out a solution.

Even if your church is small, I encourage you to make steps in this direction.  Equip others to be leaders of leaders.  If you are a growing ministry and have a least a couple of dozen volunteers, you need to be planning for the future.  In the short term, things may suffer, but in the long-term this will be a blessing to you and others.

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  1. I am so glad you made that call! I love my role on Sunday mornings!

  2. Sara -- so glad to have you in that role. You are definitely a prototype of what it looks like to succeed in this ministry role.

  3. it is amazing what can happen when we choose to let go of our bailiwick and empower others to do our jobs...God always seems to have plenty of jobs to go around and you never run out of things to do. rather, the "empowerer" is then released into the next thing and the "empoweree" is blessed and raised up to be what God called him or her to be! YAY for you all and YAYYY JESUS!