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Feb 28, 2022

How to Reduce the Stress on Your Confirmation Prep Volunteers without Watering Down Your Program

The Ascension Confirmation Team

Build an All-Star Team of Volunteers

Wouldn’t you love it if you asked a bunch of people to help with your Confirmation prep and they all said yes?

What if they not only said yes, they actually showed up? How would you feel if they did a great job, were reliable, and (wait for it) … actually enjoyed doing the program?

Now the kicker. What if they came back next year (and the year after that, and the year after that)?

In this post, we’re going to show you how to bring together a fantastic team to help you with your Confirmation prep program.

The Current State of Affairs

Most parishes struggle to find enough people to run their Confirmation prep program. 

Or if they do have enough people, sometimes that means settling for whoever shows up, whether or not they’re a good fit for the role.

(You might even be reading that and snorting, thinking it’s ungrateful to even be considering whether someone might not be ideal. We get it.)

The truth is, whether or not someone is a good fit for your program depends on two things: their gifts and personality, and your program.

You don’t have any control over who they are or what they can or can’t do. That is going to stay the same no matter what.

But you do have control over your program – specially, what role you ask your volunteers to take in your program.

Here are some changes you can make to your program that will help you set up your volunteers for success.

Looking for an easy and effective way to excite your Confirmation candidates about the faith?

Chosen: Your Journey to Confirmation offers a proven approach that we’ve just refreshed and updated. Click here to learn more.

Step 1 – Use a Video-Based Program

Most people aren’t theologians. And most people have a hard time explaining theology to anyone, much less teens.

Simplifying what we believe as Catholics so that it can be grasped by teens is a rare and wonderful talent.

So almost none of the volunteers showing up to help with your Confirmation program will be able to do this well.

But here is the kicker: Many of them will think this is what they’ll be asked to do.

Instead of asking them to try anyway, why not simply let a video-based program bring some of those rare talented Catholic presenters right into your classroom?

This frees your volunteer from being asked to do something they are unable to do, and lets them serve in a more manageable role.

They’ll end up having more confidence, knowing they’re able to achieve what is being asked of them. 

And the cherry on top, they’ll enjoy themselves!

Step 2 – Be Ultra Clear About What You Expect

Like all of us, volunteers get stressed out when the expectations haven’t been made clear. 

You might feel like you’re trying to remain relaxed and laid back, but this simply leaves all the work of defining their role to the volunteer.

Don’t begin from a place of being overly casual or detached. Give them clear parameters to work within. Then as time goes on, you can adjust and relax as they get comfortable.

The best gift you can give to them is a clear, straightforward understanding of what you’re asking of them.

As an extra bonus, if you include these expectations in your requests for volunteers, whether in the bulletin or from the pulpit, you’ll see more people show up.

If people feel confused by what you’re asking them to do, they will choose not to do anything. Be clear and more people will say yes.

Looking for an easy and effective way to excite your Confirmation candidates about the faith?

Chosen: Your Journey to Confirmation offers a proven approach that we’ve just refreshed and updated. Click here to learn more.

Step 3 – Catch Them Doing Things Right

For each volunteer, identify their strengths and make a note of them. Do they listen well? Are they great at getting the candidates to share and open up? Or maybe they are organized and reliable?

Whatever it might be, make it part of your plan to reach out to them and share positive feedback with them around those areas of strength.

(For bonus points, mix up the way you share your feedback. Send them a text one week, an email the next, and give them a phone call the week after that.)

Your Confirmation prep program has a lot of moving parts, and it’s easy to get so busy with getting things done that you miss some opportunities to do things even better.

That’s why you need to plan to make it a priority. Investing in that relationship will build your team’s morale, help you find more help in the future, and keep your volunteers around for longer.

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