In this blog series on who are the best volunteers, we have seen the bottom of the curve. At this point of life, we begin to see a slight up-tick in volunteerism. As a couples’ children begin to grow older, we do find that the couple is more likely to volunteer in some way. Many times, they simply volunteer because their children have to be at a certain event or that service hours may be required for those that have children in the religious education program or Catholic School.
However, even though they have older children at home, they can find themselves just as busy as when they had young children. The difference now is that they have possibly moved up in their career (which means more responsibility and time at work) and their children are involved in more activities (which means more shuttling their kids around from event to event). For many, volunteering for your ministry is still not likely.
But, it doesn’t hurt to try! Here are some strategies that are worth the effort:
1. Appeal to their desire to help their children. I have seen more than one set of parents get involved in church ministry because they wanted to make sure that there was something in place for their child in the church. I have seen parents try to start youth ministry because their church didn’t have anything. I have seen parents get involved in music ministry with their children, and then stayed involved after their children stopped doing music ministry. I don’t mean this to be manipulative, but all parents want what’s best for their children. If they can help the church provide some positive church experiences for their kids, they’ll say yes.
2. Invite them to participate in one-time events. These couples are still not likely to make a long-term commitment to a ministry, so maybe they can do some small things here and there for you. With any age group of volunteer, but certainly this one, you and I have to be creative with the type of volunteer experience people can get involved in. Invite them to help provide food twice a year for the ministry their child is involved in. If you just need them once or twice a year, they are more likely to say yes.
3. Start slow and follow up. When you practice the above principles and get them involved once or twice, you may find that they actually enjoyed it. Follow up with them after their volunteer experience and have them evaluate it. What did they like? What did they not like? You will learn how to make the experience better for other volunteers in the future. After you follow up, ask them if they want to volunteer again. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many will say yes. Start slow by asking them to volunteer once or twice, then follow up on their experience.
A lot of my experience working with married couples with older children has been trial and error. Sometimes, I have been successful. Other times, not so much. Try a few strategies and use what works. Then share those strategies with me so I can try them out!
Question: What types of ministry do you find married couples with older children get involved in?