What’s Up (part 2!): A Preview for Fall, 2012

We are so excited about what we have planned for you this fall…new tools, new downloads, new ways to connect with our team as you learn about special needs and grow your programs! Here are a few more details…

We just launched a brand new website! Please click on over and register with us. You’ll find downloads, articles, forms and inspiration! And…it’s all FREE!

On October 13, come and see us in the great state of Texas! Steve Grcevich will be teaching two workshops at the Faith and Disability Symposium in Katy, TX. This conference is full of unique workshops designed to take your ministry to a higher level…and guaranteed to encourage you. Our friend and colleague, Denise Briley is one of the leaders of this conference…you MUST meet her! Her enthusiasm  for inclusion is priceless. To learn more about this conference, click here.

If you’re in Northeast Ohio, you can find us at the Annual Autism Forum on Thursday, October 18. We’ll be participating in a panel on faith-based communities. We’d love to see you there! For more information, contact The ARC of Stark County at 330-492-5225.

Later this fall, we’ll travel to central Pennsylvania for the Engage Children’s Ministry Training Event on November 9 and 10. Steve will be teaching two breakouts there, and he hopes to meet you! This is a fast-growing conference designed to meet the needs of pastors and volunteers by offering over 40 workshops, plus a keynote with Sue Miller! And…the conference is only $20!

Next, our second annual online training event, Inclusion Fusion, is scheduled for November 12-16. This conference is FREE…and anyone with a computer, smart phone or tablet can access it from anywhere in the world! You’ll be treated to wisdom from Amy Dolan, Jim Pierson, Beth Guckenberger, Shannon Dingle, Aaron Scheffler, and many, many more! Registration opens on Sunday at www.inclusionfusion.org

And, last but not least, we’re collaborating with the publishers of K! Magazine to give you a year-long, in-depth series of articles on special needs inclusion. We hope this will be helpful as you plan and develop your programs and relationships.

Happy, happy autumn…hope yours is full of crisp apples and crisp ideas!




You have just GOT to see this…it’s our brand new, easy-to-use, chock-full-of-info Key Ministry Website…

We are so excited to share this with you…you’ll be able to find tons of resources, links, projects and materials right here. PLUS…you can register and download information you can use whenever you need it. We can’t wait for you to stop by and click around…so let’s have some fun…

Click here to enter the site. Wander around. Relax. Get to know us. Then, send me an email here to tell me your favorite feature of the new site…and you’ll be entered to win a huge bag of Hershey’s kisses.


Relational Recruiting: Finding volunteers through friendship

Today, I want to introduce you to two wise ladies who are expert volunteer recruiters: Margo and Marilyn.

Margo Most is the Director of Middle School MInistries at Fellowship Bible Church. In addition to planning retreats, teaching Bible Studies and working with parents and students, Margo devotes time and energy to recruiting volunteers. Recently, Margo told me, “I always try to build relationships with people BEFORE I ask them to volunteer; No one likes to be hunted down by a stranger on Sunday morning and asked, ‘Hey, do you want to teach a small group?'”

Oh, how right she is!

Often, we recruit out of necessity and panic.Weary from the lack of response to bulletin blurbs and pulpit announcements, we scan the fellowship hall for anyone who might be willing and able. Sometimes, we resort to that most-dreaded phrase: “Hey…I just need a warm body for my ministry. Want to volunteer?”

Enticing? I don’t think do.

By taking a page out of Margo’s book, we increase the likelihood of recruiting volunteers for inclusion ministry that will be a good “fit.” Here’s why:

  • By building a relationship, we learn about the volunteer’s gifts. We might find out that someone has a background in speech or occupational therapy, or that he enjoyed working for a camp for kids with disabilities while in college. We might learn that she has a fabulous sense of humor or a talent for music. With this information, we can ask God how these gifts might be used with the children in the program.
  • We learn about the volunteer’s temperament and personality. Some very successful volunteers don’t have a background in education or therapy, and yet, they have experienced great success in inclusion ministry. Through relationships, we might learn that a prospective volunteer has a wonderful sense of humor or immeasurable patience or a calm, quiet presence.
  • We learn about the volunteer’s life. By building relationships, we find out who is out of work, and who has just signed a contract to build a new house. We know that someone is dealing with a challenging teen or providing care for aging parents. While we never want to presume that someone is “too busy” or “too overwhelmed” to volunteer, we do want to be sure that our timing and our words are appropriate.
  • We build the Kingdom. When we recruit through relationships, we increase the likelihood that our volunteers will experience success in their service…and the resulting enthusiasm will be caught by others!

Recruiting for a new program year can be intimidating. However, by considering relationships you have, and purposefully forming new ones, the process may be more manageable.  My friend Marilyn Johns, from Union Presbyterian Seminary, offers this encouragement: “Never be afraid to ask people to volunteer; you’re giving them an opportunity to serve the King!”

Serving with you!