In my continuing series on who are the best volunteers, we are hitting the bottom of the u-shape. Married couples with young children are the least likely of any group to volunteer. Why? Simple: they have young children who need a ton of time and attention.
I am in this phase of life right now. Working full time and juggling the care of my daughter, while also trying to spend quality time with my wife is a challenge. The last thing I’m going to do is volunteer at my church. And I work full time for the church!
A lot of young parents feel this way, especially if it is their first child. Having a child is a major transition in life that no amount of classes and training can prepare you for. But, I can attest, it’s an awesome stage of life.
How do you get the married couple with young children to volunteer?
This is a challenge. Often times, what the couple needs is the church community to support this new phase of life. They need community. They need to meet with other parents who are going through the same thing. As a leader in ministry, I should focus my energy on keeping them connected to the church and with other parents. This is what they need most.
However, it is not impossible to get married couples with young children to volunteer. Here are 4 strategies:
- Let them volunteer from home. Is there anything they can do for your ministry that they can do from your home? Maybe they can manage your social media accounts, update your website, or develop online newsletters for you. Maybe they can write real (not e-) birthday cards to all the youth of the parish. Provide the stationary, stamps, and addresses and they have everything they need. These types of projects allow them to still care for their young children from home while helping your ministry.
- Get them involved in Sunday mass or service. Hopefully, they are still coming to church on a regular basis. Since they’re already there, invite them to serve in some way during that time. This can work as long as the spouse can stay with the child(ren). This is actually what my wife and I do. My wife is involved in music ministry on Sunday while I stay with my daughter. It works well.
- Invite them to help with baptism preparation. Since they probably just went through baptismal preparation (if your church practices infant baptism), this might be the perfect ministry for the couple. You can have them share testimonies of their experience of baptism or have them actually teach the session. If they had a good experience of the baptism process, they might just get involved.
- Provide daycare. If you want them to get involved on a regular basis in your ministry because they have some excellent gifts that fit your ministry, then provide FREE daycare for the couple. Find a teenager or young adult to babysit their child(ren) while they volunteer. Just make sure they are a competent babysitter. For an added plus, help them find free babysitting for a date night. It’s probably been awhile since the two of them had a night just to themselves.
In this phase of life, they might not volunteer. That’s okay. But you should at least continue to ask them. You never know, especially if you try some of the strategies above.
Question: How do you get married couples with young children to volunteer in ministry?