How to Motivate your Children's Ministry Volunteers

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.

What is TIES?

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.

How to Incorporate TIES into Your Children's Ministry Program

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.

Find Blueprints for Children's Ministry

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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Written by

Kim Bestian

Kim E. Bestian is a trained Lutheran elementary school teacher, director of children’s ministry, pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to share how God, the Almighty Architect, has helped her build children’s ministry over her many years of experience.

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