How to Find (and Keep) Volunteers

By Rebekah Bell

Ministry leaders are responsible for their respective ministries. However, they cannot do their job alone. In order for a church to have a successful ministry, volunteers are not only appreciated but necessary. Volunteers are essential parts of the body of Christ. They are the gears that make the church move forward. A minister can have all the ideas and energy in the world, but without volunteers in the church, nothing will ever happen.

Unfortunately, motivating members in some churches to volunteer can prove a Herculean task. This is true whether the volunteer role is teaching Sunday School or helping to serve a church dinner. Many church members are either too busy or too afraid to devote their time to service in the church. This is, at its root, a problem of the heart. It is the call of every Christian to do the work of Christ. The Bible says that a Christian is known by his or her fruit.

How can ministers, then, help penetrate the hearts of the unmoved and guide them into a life of serving the church and their community in Christ? Ultimately, this is something that the Holy Spirit must do in the hearts of church members. However, as church leaders, we must be sure we are communicating the importance and joy of volunteer work and service in the church.

  • A Service Oriented Church

While a minister cannot do the work for their members, a minister can set the stage for a church atmosphere that is service oriented. Preparing sermons on doing the work of Christ gives a minister an opportunity to reach ears that need to hear such a message. A church can also draw up a mission statement that is clear in its mission to not only hear the message of Christ, but go forth and share that message with others. When people request church information, be sure to include service opportunities. These things will help church members realize that your church takes service seriously.

  • Go Directly to the People

While it would certainly be nice for everyone to go use the sign-up sheet after service, the truth is that many people in churches are hesitant to do this. People sometimes need a nudge in the right direction to motivate them to volunteer. Perhaps they have never volunteered before and are waiting for someone “more qualified” to do the job. Go to people directly and ask them if they are interested in volunteering in certain areas. If they see that their volunteer efforts are wanted and needed, perhaps they will consider it.

  • Have A Ministry Event

Some people may not volunteer because they are unsure of the areas in which they can serve. Hosting an event that highlights the various ministries in your church and what they do can help to make people aware of what exists in your church are where their gifts may meet their call to service.

  • Offer Volunteer Training

Many people, in and out of churches, struggle with self esteem. Perhaps someone has always wanted to volunteer with the kids ministry, but is worried they wouldn’t know where to start. Offer opportunities for those who are interested to receive the training and education they need to excel in their volunteer position.

  • Appreciate Your Volunteers and Stay in Touch

After someone volunteers, it is important that they know how vital their efforts are to the church. Stay in touch with your volunteers over time, send cards just to say thank you, or have dinners for those in the church who serve. These things will let people know they are not being used, but are truly appreciated.

While there is no one-size fits all solution to finding volunteers, hopefully this list can help your church get started.

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