How to GROW Your Church Volunteers

by: Scott Rachels  |  March 17th, 2016  |  Staffing  | 

Volunteers are the lifeblood of your church. No matter whether you’re a small church or a large one, you need volunteers to power your ministries and everything it takes to run a church effectively. The more volunteers your church has, the greater impact you can make in ministry. This applies across the spectrum, from having kid’s ministry volunteers and greeters, to facilities volunteers and parking lot attendants.

One of the greatest challenges churches struggle with is recruiting and retaining volunteers to take on these roles within the church. Here are some simple tips to help you GROW your current volunteers and leverage the potential of their investment:

G – Go

Get going! We often complicate the starting point for recruiting new volunteers. Make it easy for new volunteers to jump in and begin volunteering. Recruiting new volunteers can be as simple as setting a few training/intro dates that volunteers can attend to choose the area they want to volunteer in, fill out the necessary paperwork, and set their schedules. This will allow them to jump in right away.

R – Recognize

While volunteers don’t usually serve for the recognition, keep in mind—a little recognition goes a long way in keeping your teams motivated. Volunteers are not staff members, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grow into leadership roles and use their gifts to impact your church in a big way. Look for ways to encourage volunteers by recognizing their efforts and affirming the value of their service. A simple handwritten note with a $5 Starbucks gift card tucked inside can be a game-changer. Remember, volunteers are your biggest advocates for recruiting new volunteers and a team that is motivated and encouraged will attract others. Take the time to pray for your volunteers, build relationships, and get to know them on a personal level. And keep the “fun factor” in mind.

O – Options

People want options. Make sure your volunteering schedules are simple and consistent. Set clear volunteer times that apply to every weekend and have volunteers choose the time/schedule that works best for them. Depending on how much availability your volunteers have, give them the option to volunteer every weekend or every other weekend within their specific role. Set clear expectations for your volunteers. What time are they expected to arrive? What are their responsibilities? What happens when they can’t come in? Setting expectations from the onset will help volunteers realistically consider their options and prepare them for success.

W – “Why”

Volunteers serve with a deeper sense of motivation and connectedness when they understand the Why behind what they are doing. When volunteers become aware of Why what they are doing matters, they will see their role as having greater Kingdom impact than simply performing a task. Make sure each volunteer is connected to the greater cause. Ultimately, the Why is connected to your DNA as a church. Clear understanding of who you are as a church keeps each person on-message and communicates Why what they are doing matters!

Prepare to GROW

Actively advertise and recruit new volunteers to keep up with church growth. Having a system in place to remind volunteers when they need to come in or have them confirm/deny when they are or are not available can also help you plan ahead for days where you may need more volunteers in certain departments. If you have a healthy church, your kid’s ministry attendance will likely grow, as will the need to add more volunteers to serve other areas of your church. Create a plan for growth and you’ll be ready to meet the demand.

Scott Rachels

Scott Rachels has over 25 years of church leadership experience. Scott brings keen insight, wisdom and proven ability in helping churches and leaders thrive in their uniqueness.  He has served as lead pastor at Newport Mesa Church in Costa Mesa, Ca.… Read More