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Recruiting & Training Special Needs Ministry Volunteers (From #OC13)

April 29, 2013

At this past week’s Orange Conference, Meaghan Wall led a workshop on recruiting and training volunteers for the special needs ministry.  Meaghan is the Pastoral Leader of Special Needs for Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas.  Stonebriar has a waiting list of volunteers for their special needs ministry.  Yes, you read that correctly.  There are more people in line to volunteer for the ministry than there are open positions.  And this church regularly includes around 100 children and students with special needs.

Meaghan provided a power-packed hour of ideas and best practices during her OC13 workshop.  One of the fun take-aways from the workshop was how Meaghan sets up the annual training for the ministry volunteers.  Each year every volunteer who serves in the ministry is required to attend an all-day training for the special needs ministry.  During this event Meaghan shares the philosophy of the ministry, provides tips for teaching the Bible lesson, and goes over the Sunday morning routine as well as responses to any type of emergency.

Stonebriar Community Church volunteer Training August 2012

Throughout this Orange Conference workshop, Meaghan shared of her desire to create a fun atmosphere for ministry volunteers…whether it be on Sundays or in the volunteer training event.  This past year Meaghan instructed all the volunteers to arrive at the volunteer training in comfortable clothes and prepared to be active.   Without any notice and about mid-way through the training day Meaghan told everyone to come to the center of the room….and a Zumba instructor appeared.  The instructor then led the entire team of volunteers in an impromptu Zumba class.

Stonebriar Community Church Volunteer Training Zumba August 2012

The Zumba class turned out to be a surprise hit among the volunteers.  The volunteers were able to see each other in a different light and they got up and got moving about the time they would have been bored from an all-day training event.

At the end of the Orange Conference workshop Meaghan shared the video that the church played during their recent “Special Needs Sunday”.  Nearly every aspect of this annual worship service is crafted to spotlight the participants and families involved in the church’s special needs ministry.  In this video you will see where the ministry is referred to as the  “GIFT Ministry”.  GIFT stands for “God is Faithful Throughout”.  The emphasis Sunday is a big way the church gives visibility to the ministry and draws interest from prospective volunteers.  (In this previous post, we give more details about Stonebriar’s Special Needs Sunday.)  In the Orange Conference workshop, Meaghan shared the video  that the church showed during the worship service.  And Stonebriar has graciously given permission for us to share the video here.  (Warning!  Keep a tissue handy…this video is amazing!)

Stonebriar Community Church’s Special Needs Sunday Video

PLEASE NOTE:  The photographs and video in this post are shared here with express permission from the staff of Stonebriar Community Church.  Please do not repost these pictures or the video online without obtaining permission from Stonebriar Community Church.

Chapter 7 of the new book, Leading a Special Needs Ministry, offers more insight about how Stonebriar Community Church creates such a positive experience and attractive environment for special needs ministry volunteers.  The book also provides a detailed appendix piece with topics to cover in a volunteer training event and an example policy manual.

Meaghan_WallMeaghan Wall is the Pastoral Leader of Special Needs at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas.   Stonebriar Community Church currently welcomes close to 100 students with special needs in the GIFT Ministry and provides various opportunities for the students and their families to be actively involved in the church.   Meaghan is a licensed and experienced social worker with a degree from Texas Tech University.   Meaghan is currently pursuing a Masters of Christian Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary.

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