What does Fast Food have to do with Kidmin Volunteers?

By Alison Zeller

Often, ministry workers are quick to point out how differently they operate than the secular world. Sometimes, though, we miss the inherent similarities. Ministry workers can - and should - learn from big businesses. We can take the valuable lessons they teach us, filter out the secular me-first and profit-first attitude, and be left with inspiration for our specific program.

A prime example: Pal’s Sudden Service. It’s a fast-food chain restaurant and it’s success in managing its employees was detailed in an article in the Harvard Business Review. Read the article and think about how it applies to your kidmin volunteers.

  • Pal’s workers operate at “lightning pace.” They’ve been trained well and they are efficient. They make a mistake only “once in every 3,600 orders.” Is this what you picture when you think about your kidmin program on a Sunday morning? Or does your Sunday morning more closely resemble chaos? Are you somewhere in between? Brainstorm systems or processes that could streamline your Sunday morning so things run like a well-oiled machine!
  • Pal’s employs a lot of part-time teenage workers. Their workforce is probably quite similar to your volunteer pool. Now, we know that teenagers and volunteers of any age are not always the most reliable people. They may not be in your kidmin program for the right reasons. They may not be committed. Wouldn’t you like to know this before you put them on the schedule for five Sundays in a row? Pal’s has every potential employee fill out a survey and you should do the same with your potential volunteers. Get to their hearts - they may be better suited to serve in another area of ministry. Or they may be perfect for kidmin. But, you won’t know unless you take the time to survey them.
  • Pal’s has a formal training program. They train their employees for 120 hours! That’s not necessary in your ministry, but here’s the other extreme: you can’t expect success with a volunteer who has 15 minutes of training immediately before Sunday services begin. Find a middle ground that works for your program.
  • Invest in your volunteers. Across the board, Pal’s is showing that they rely on their employees and their employees are stepping up to the plate. Provide increasing responsibility and training for your volunteers. Give them a chance to shine with their God-given talents!

What lessons from this article can your kidmin program implement?

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