Having trouble lining up volunteers for your fall programs? Here are six ways to cultivate a culture of service so that people will be asking to serve.
1. Reduce dependence on staff.
Not surprisingly, churches with low levels of volunteer engagement are also often overstaffed. They’ve trained themselves to pay for ministry. It’s hard to address a volunteer issue without addressing a staffing issue. Until you reduce your reliance on staff, you’ll never need to build strong teams.
2. Reward team-building over ministry-doing.
Do your staff meetings and evaluations focus on the quality of the team or only on ministry outputs? If you want team members to value volunteer development, integrate that priority throughout your ministry.
3. Budget heavily for volunteer development.
Your volunteers are the backbone of ministry operations. Though they aren’t compensated financially, they should be heavily developed and appreciated, both of which require intentional investments. Staff should be resourced to invest in team members over meals, plus your budget should include volunteer training and tokens of appreciation. This isn’t an area to skimp—anything short of your best undervalues your best people.
4. Regularly ask, “How can we engage volunteers?”
Churches often don’t have volunteers because they haven’t created opportunities for them. Train your team to keep their eyes open for aspects of ministry they can give away.
5. Move volunteering from an exception to an expectation.
Many churches are refreshing their approach to church membership, recognizing it as a commitment to engage next steps rather than simply a roster of names. Shift the way you talk about membership to include true involvement in the body of Christ.
6. Stop apologizing for people’s service.
You may look at a certain task as a chore because you don’t enjoy it. However, many people in your church may absolutely love doing that job. When you apologize to the volunteers who take on that task, you actually devalue their gifts in the body of Christ. Instead, appreciate the variety of gifts God has placed in your church.
The Unstuck Group is an organization that seeks to help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. For more: TheUnstuckGroup.com.