By: Rachel Cross
Volunteers are the lifeblood of most churches. In fact, given their limited budgets and resources, many churches would find it impossible to accomplish their missions without this volunteer work force. That’s why it’s vitally important to establish and maintain a healthy volunteer program.
Here are 5 tips to do just that:
Boldly share your vision.
Regularly share how your church intends to make a difference in your community, so that people know who you are and what you stand for (besides Jesus, of course). They’ll be more likely to get on board to help if they are given insight into the impact your church is making to transform lives and make disciples.
Make the ask.
After casting vision, be direct. People need to be asked to help with specific volunteer positions and tasks if you want them to dedicate time out of their busy schedules. Write descriptions for each role and create volunteer flyers with the details that you can pass out on Sundays.
Take the time to train.
Before you start recruiting, have a solid training program in place. This should include in-person sessions led by staff or seasoned veterans and clear, written expectations of the commitment and code of conduct required. You should hold at least quarterly training meetings so that new batches of recruits can get trained in an organized way.
Empower high-functioning volunteers.
If you have a volunteer capable of doing more than he or she currently is, and has shown a desire to get more involved, then promote them! Self-motivated, independent volunteers will thrive with additional responsibility. They may be able to manage and train other volunteers, freeing you up to focus on other church business that needs your attention.
Note: Be sure to monitor these high-functioning volunteers, as they could be at a higher risk for burn out.
Formally appreciate your volunteers.
Build a comprehensive appreciation program that both rewards your volunteers and increases their skills. This may include an appreciation lunch or dinner, professional development of some kind (special teaching from a senior pastor or other staff member), and thank you cards and gifts. Hand written notes are best, but public acknowledgement and recognition is also encouraged.
At the end of the day, developing a solid volunteer force does take time when done properly, but the result is a thriving group of people committed to doing the good work of your church.
Rachel Cross is a marketing sherpa for churches, nonprofits and small businesses. She considers herself a sherpa because she enjoys the challenge of guiding her clients to where they want to go while helping to “carry their packs.” Plus, sherpas get to wear warm, fuzzy hats! Learn more at rachelkgroup.com.