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Motivate your children's ministry volunteers with TIES

Your children's ministry volunteers are priceless. So how do you keep them encouraged, inspired, and motivated? In her book Blueprints for Children's Ministry, Kim E. Bestian shares a helpful acronym, TIES, to help church leaders effectively lead, train, and retain their volunteers.

Through God’s guidance, the church provides leaders and sets them in place. These leaders Teach, Inspire, Encourage, and Send child ministry volunteers who have a passion for God’s little lambs. This TIES acronym helps pastors, Directors of Children’s Ministry, and Children’s Ministry Leaders to remember their primary responsibilities and to prepare workers in children’s ministry. This special TIES plan is derived from Hosea 11:4, “I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love.” Other translations use the words, “human kindness, with ties of love.”

Teach: Knowledge and skill
To deliver information needed for a particular area of learning

Inspire: Divine influence
To cast vision, excite, entice, and motivate into wanting to join in and participate

Encourage: Reassure and promote
To coach and create a sense of approval, confidence, and continuance as support

Send: Permit and dismiss
To enable to go and do all that has been acquired

Because of His great love, God leads us with kindness, satisfies our human needs, and sets an example for us to lead others. Through Christian faith, we share and demonstrate kindness to others and wrap it all up with ties of love, which bind it all together.

Kindness or TIES of love include compassion, consideration, generosity, gentleness, helpfulness, sympathy, thoughtfulness, understanding, and most of all, mercy. Mercy is kindness to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Here are some examples of how to incorporate TIES of love in your children’s ministry program. The ideas are endless!

  • Clear and helpful information at meetings
  • Newsletter articles or personal notes that acknowledge and give thanks to those people who are serving
  • Personal encounters that show care and interest
  • Sympathetic or celebrative moments on the phone
  • Snacks at training sessions
  • Kind words and encouragement even if someone is late
  • An understanding heart to those who couldn’t make a meeting
  • Displaying equanimity when there is a frustration or disagreement
  • A small gift to a tired soul or even a not-so-tired soul
  • Patience and a listening ear
  • Plenty of supplies and ideas
  • Checks to see that children’s books in the library are updated, fresh, and applicable
  • Help in preparations
  • A praise pat on the back
  • Flexibility while collectively creating, planning, and working toward a goal
  • Lots of smiles
  • Providing Blueprints for Children’s Ministry

Above all, lead with love—the way God leads His people with the sort of kindness that we as humans need.


We hope that this excerpt from Blueprints for Children's Ministry gives you some creative ideas for encouraging your volunteers. May God bless your children's ministry! To learn more about Kim's suggestions for working in children's ministry, we recommend reading our Q&A with Kim Bestian and watching this recording of a recent interview with Kim.

This excerpt was taken from Blueprints for Children's Ministry by Kim E. Bestian, pages 38–39, © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. 

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