This week, I’ll be answering more of the submitted questions for the frequently asked questions in Kidmin. I hope this is a blessing and help to your ministry!
1. How do you manage check out of over 300 kids from VBS?
Managing check-out at VBS can be challenging, regardless of the number of children you have. If you are at a smaller church, sometimes you can get away with not having a check-out system because your VBS team knows which kid belongs to which parent. For larger churches that have many more children (such as the 300 number you mentioned), a check-out system is a must. If you are able to, designing a check-in/out system that fits your ministry can be very helpful.
Designing your own check-in/out system is easier than it sounds. First, you need to put a field on your VBS registration cards that lets parents list every person that MAY pick up their children during the week. Then, just take the registrations that you have for the children and enter them into an excel spreadsheet (with the child’s name, parent’s name, and people who may pick them up). When you print out these sheets, make sure to include room for check-in/out for each day of your VBS. When someone comes to pick up their child at the end of the day, have one of your staff ready to check-out children with your sheets, only letting children go with people who have been approved by the child’s parent.
If you are looking to purchase a check-in/out system (and your church doesn’t already have one), check out these solid resources:
2. How do you manage budgets?
Great question. While I do not pretend to have a mastery of budgeting, I do have a few thoughts to share regarding how to prepare ministry budgets:
- Count the number of volunteers and children that are in your ministry. You will want to plan a certain amount that will be spent on every volunteer for volunteer appreciation each year. For example, do you bring in treats once a month? Do you give out any gifts during the year? Additionally, keeping a record of the number of children you have will help prepare you for planning amounts for regular church functions and special events.
- Look at last year’s spending report. Take a look at how much certain things cost that you will be doing again. This will help give you a perspective for the costs for everything that you have done before.
- Take a look at sample budgets to get an idea of what other churches do. Here are a few sample budgets in Excel spreadsheets for you to look at (from childrensministryonline.com):
- Don’t be afraid to include everything that you will need. Hopefully you have a good relationship with your church staff, and they will be able to talk with you if there are any budget complications. If you don’t use all your money by the year end, you can do one of two things: Use the money for a one-time purchase that would help your ministry, or save the money for the next year! Good leadership in your church will recognize that you are not spending money just to spend it, and will reward you by trusting your budget for the next year as well.
When working with budgets, you need to:
- Learn from your past,
- Plan well for your present,
- And make wise choices that will build trust between you and church leadership for the future.
For links to some great articles on this topic, scroll through the children’s ministry Forums search about budgets on Kidology.
3. How do you structure trainings for teen volunteers?
My short answer for this is to read my articles called Training Youth to Become Children’s Ministry Leaders and 3 Steps to Training New Leaders. Also, for more great articles on training, take a look at Part 1 of the Children’s Ministry FAQ’s.
My not-so-long answer? Structure trainings for teen volunteers the same way as you would for adult volunteers, but be certain to emphasize any of your policies that are different because they are teenagers (for example: two adults have to be in a room with children at the same time, not just one adult and one teen). I am working on preparing a conference workshop for this topic, which I will be presenting on in November. I would be happy to share the workshop notes after the event, if anyone is interested. Just shoot me an email.
Have any questions? Feel free to email me with them by using the form below! Look for Part 3 to come out in the next few weeks.