Part 2: How (and How Not!) to Recruit Volunteers


In our last post, we talked about some best practices for recruiting volunteers. With many churches operating with less people post-Covid, it’s wise to not burn out a smaller volunteer base with commitments that never seem to end or covering too many programs or ministries with too little. And as mentioned last week, creating and nurturing a great volunteer base is a really good use of Kingdom resources and enables people to step into their Kingdom potential. Before I was ever on a church staff or “officially” pastoring, I led a weekly small group Bible study that was the high point of my week…and that’s when I was working a 50-hour a week “civilian” job! It gave me a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment even beyond the job of providing for and loving my family as well as provided an outlet for a particular gifting. So… …after you’ve successfully recruited a volunteer to step into ministry (see post), here are some great follow up tips for keeping people positive and engaged…and like the last post, we’re using Children’s Ministry as an example, but the principles are the same for any ministry area.

ALWAYS AND NEVER AFTER THE RECRUIT SAYS “YES”:

  • Always stay in contact with your volunteers by calling them at least one time a month to check on their progress and training. Email may be used, but it must be personal and not feel like a form letter; make sure there are some questions to get a response.

  • Always provide at least two major training/orientation times per year with teachers and helpers present. Make it excellent!

  • Always encourage and train recruits to become recruiters (“Who do you know at our church who would do a good job at serving kids?”). Get their names to add to your list of potential recruits.

  • Never tolerate chronic tardiness or absences without notification, from a helper or a teacher. Gently ask them if they are certain they can fulfill the job description. If the problem persists, you’ll need to ask them to step down until they can do the job as outlined.

  • Always make certain the volunteer is in position on time on Sunday mornings.

  • Always make certain teachers have proper materials. Take time to make sure teachers have everything they need to do the job you have asked them to do. As you do this, they'll feel supported and will be less likely to burn out.

And last, never take people for granted. As a church leader, we are in the “people business”. That means: before any task or ministry, people should always be honored and made to feel truly significant no matter their volunteer role. They should be reminded how what they do fits into the greater mission of the Church. (Special thanks to Barry Long for this material.)

Dave Workman | Elemental Churches

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