We Need More Volunteers!
We Need More Volunteers!
Picture this: You wake up in the morning, ready to preach God’s word and love on God’s people. As you head to church, you go through your sermon points a few times in your mind, spend some time in prayer, and walk into the church building. Stepping inside, you notice the greeters aren’t at the door. As you pass the children’s area, you’re notified that three of your children’s workers didn’t show up that day.
You feel bad for repeatedly asking the same few people to fill those slots, but you assure them you’re trying to get more volunteers. When you take a copy of the bulletin, you glance at it. “Shoot,” you think. “The Announcements.” As you run through different calendar events coming up and things to be prepared for, you remember to write it down: ask for volunteers. Then comes that part of the service when you walk up and give the morning announcements.
“Ahem, good morning everyone. It’s so good to see you in the house of the Lord. Before we continue to worship, I want to give you a few announcements. Don’t forget about our Fall Festival coming up in a few weeks. We need helpers in several areas, so don’t forget to look at the sign-up sheet on your way out. We also need some additional workers in our children’s area on Sunday mornings. Also, we need more greeters. Please let me encourage you to sign up to fill in these areas.”
You preach an awesome sermon. Grab your bible, talk to a few people, and then go to lock up everything behind you. On your way out, you check the sign-up sheet. “Seriously?!”
This is Common
This week in the podcast, Jimbo and Bob talked about how to recruit volunteers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a Replant, a Revitalization, or any other type of church or ministry. You know the struggle: The lack of volunteers is an issue in many churches. Is it that they don’t care? Is it that they are immature in the faith? What is it? The reason for this need is multifaceted, and as a new pastor or leader, there may be some things in a member’s history you are unaware of. d
Some church members are new to the faith and think the church is a service to attend rather than a family they contribute to. Some members are burned from over-service. They’ve volunteered and led under every committee, every team, and every role you can imagine. Some are lulling and going through the motions. Some members have fallen asleep to the needs and don’t recognize the value of servants. Some may be walking in sin and don’t feel like they are in a place to serve. Lastly, some members just…don’t want to.
As difficult as this is, our mission as church leaders is clear. “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry and to edify the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12). So how do we address the need biblically AND practically?
Biblically Address the Need
For those members who may not understand the need and the value of church service, there are some ways to address it biblically. Remember, the word of God doesn’t return void! When you preach and teach scripture, rest that God works in peoples’ hearts. You can do this both through short conversation points with members but also as sermon topics. Listen to these powerful scriptures.
“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:18-20:
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:4-8
Numerous scripture passages about the joy, benefit, and need for serving exist. Click here to see a list of several other scriptures on this topic. When we make statements to our churches and back them up with scripture, it adds to the validity and purpose of that point.
Practically Address the Need
Recruiting members to serve at your church can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can successfully use individuals willing to contribute their time and skills to the body of Christ. Here are some steps and tips to help you recruit more servants and volunteers at your church:
Identify Service Areas
Begin by identifying specific areas in your church where additional volunteers are needed. This could include roles such as greeters, ushers, children’s ministry workers, worship team members, administrative support, or any other areas that require help. You can begin developing a plan for addressing these needs by identifying them.
Organize an Initiative
Most volunteer programs are messy and chaotic in churches. Some children’s ministry workers are never relieved of their duties. We hardly allow for rotation of workers and expect people to sign up and work in a ministry area for the rest of their lives. Instead of “sharing a need,” we must communicate an opportunity. You can write a well-defined opportunity with a time commitment so people know what they are signing up for!
Churches need a pathway where if someone says, “I want to volunteer,” they have an exact place to start looking at how to serve. Utilize your church website by creating tabs for different areas with a description under each. If you don’t have a website, send members home with some information, sharing a description of each need, so that they can go home, pray about it, and be willing to come back and join in. Use a point person who is aware of all church needs. This may be someone on staff or…a volunteer. This helps to streamline all your volunteer opportunities through one person.
Broadcast the Opportunities
This is where you promote, announce, and spread the word about volunteer opportunities. Utilize various communication channels such as your bulletin, social media platforms, website announcements, and an email list to reach out to existing members and potential volunteers. Highlight the specific roles available and emphasize the positive impact volunteering can have on spiritual growth for you and the others they serve.
Church members are not quick to sign up for the next service area because we don’t discuss it correctly. We discuss it in passing, such as “We need more workers. Please sign up.” But if you communicate the need, stress the urgency, and encourage the work, you will get more quality volunteers. “We have a great opportunity to serve in our children’s area on Sunday mornings. We know we want to be a church that loves the family and gives children every opportunity to learn, grow, and know Jesus from a young age. This is a one-year commitment, and we would love to have you help serve in these areas.”
Provide Volunteer Training and Support
Once volunteers join the work, they must be provided with proper training and ongoing support. We often need to do this better. Give volunteer training opportunities and ensure they have all the tools necessary to serve well. Conduct orientation sessions to familiarize new volunteers with the church’s mission, values, and expectations. Offer workshops to enhance their skills and knowledge in their respective roles. Regularly check in with volunteers to address their concerns or provide guidance.
Recognize and Appreciate Volunteers
Consider organizing volunteer appreciation events or providing small tokens of gratitude to express your thanks. Feeling valued and appreciated will encourage volunteers to continue their service and inspire others to join. Outside of your regular encouragement of them, make sure at least once a year, you take time to honor your volunteers with a meal and a gift. This shows them they are valued and honored for their hard work and service.
In summary, recruiting more volunteers at your church requires a strategic approach that involves identifying needs, developing a straightforward program, promoting opportunities, providing support, and recognizing contributions. For any needs that arise, don’t forget to contact us.