7 Ways to Attract and Engage New Volunteers
One of the biggest determining factors in whether or not a church is growing is the health of the volunteer teams. As church leaders, we have to constantly be building a culture where new people are actively getting involved and finding fulfillment.
Contrary to the negative reports you hear, the majority of people are eager to get involved in something that is genuinely making a difference in the world. The local church ought to be THE place where families are able to put their gifts and talents to work. But for this to happen, it’s up to us as leaders to be intentional about creating the culture and the systems that attract and engage them.
Here are 7 Ways to Attract and Engage New Volunteers at your church
1. List the Opportunities
This may seem elementary, but you need to make sure that there are plenty of places for people to serve within your church. If there are only 2-3 places where people can serve, it’s going to be hard for your church to ever grow the way God wants it to. People want to be involved, and it’s our responsibility as church leaders to create places for them to serve.
Next, make sure it’s written out. Don’t leave the list in your head – Get it on paper. You need to make sure there’s a clear list of the opportunities written out and available for people to see. It’s one of the most simple things you can do. But without this clear list, people won’t know what the options are.
If you don’t have a clear list, or if you know you need to expand your list, get your leaders together with a legal pad and start working on it.
2. Have a Clear On-Ramp
Many churches have a “Growth-Track” type of class, which is a multi-week class where new people can learn about your church, and hear about ways they can get plugged in. If you do this on a consistent monthly basis, this is a very effective way to get people started in your church. It becomes part of the culture of your church, and everybody eventually knows that this is the first step to getting involved.
Whatever you do, you need a clear on-ramp for people who want to get involved. Don’t make them guess or be confused about the system and steps they should take if they want to get involved.
3. Consider the Barriers to Entry
Make it easy for people to get involved. For things like children’s ministry, obviously you need to run a background check on all volunteers, but try to keep the “requirements” to a minimum. The harder you make it to become a volunteer, the more people you’ll lose in the on-boarding process.
Many churches make it so hard to get involved. Develop a culture where people can get involved as they are on their journey with God. Serving is part of the process God wants to use to help people grow in their walk with Him.
4. Make the Expectations Clear
When a new volunteer is getting started, make everything as clear as possible. Don’t assume they know. Explain it all. Details like “when” and “where” should never be a mystery. What might seem obvious to you, may not be obvious to them.
Especially when somebody is just getting started, welcome them onto the team, let them shadow, and give them good clear training. Explain everything you can, answer any questions they have, and adjust your explanation to include those answers in the future. Nobody should have to wonder what’s expected of them.
5. Don’t Overload
We want people to enjoy serving, not be overloaded. It’s important for us to find out how often they want to serve, and then try to honor that as closely as possible. This will be different for each person.
Maybe a person wants to work in the sound booth every week. Maybe somebody wants to serve on the parking team every other week. Or possibly there’s somebody who can only serve in the nursery once per month. Try to respect the season of life they are in, and what they are willing and able to contribute during this season.
This is a big part of Faith Teams software. We can help you and your team leaders schedule volunteers and do it in a way that isn’t confusing or frustrating. Click Here to see more details about how we can help you schedule volunteers and manage volunteer teams.
6. Communicate the WHY
This is one of the most important things we do as team leaders. Communicate the WHY. We don’t want people to simply be doing tasks, but we want them to understand WHY they are doing the task.
Let me explain it like this: The parking team isn’t really about parking cars. It’s about breaking the tension for people coming onto the property. It’s about using smiles, body language and encouraging comments, to clearly communicate to people that “You’re welcome here!”. The parking team needs to know they are impacting families. They’re beginning the process of tearing down walls that people have built up in their lives simply by the way they wave and welcome people onto the property.
Yes, they set out the signs. Yes, they direct people to the correct section to park in. But the REASON they do what they do, and the REASON they do it with the right attitude is much bigger than the task. They’re making a difference! It’s up to us as leaders to constantly communicate that to every person serving.
If they don’t understand the “why” they’ll probably soon be tired of doing the “what”. But if they understand the “why”, they’ll experience fulfillment because they know they are genuinely making a difference.
7. Thank Them Often
Even when they know the WHY, there’s still hard work involved. Volunteers don’t want to be compensated for their time like an employee, but they do want to know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated.
Don’t take your volunteers for granted. Let them know that they are appreciated. Do it often. Do it in many different forms. Publicly, privately, hand-written notes, texts, emails, etc. Pastors and team leaders can’t miss this one. Let your volunteers KNOW that their hard work is making a difference in your church and in the kingdom of God.
Take a look through these seven things and see which one your church might need to take action on. As you build strong volunteer teams, you’ll not only see growth, but your church will grow in the favor of God. He delights in a church where people can be involved and grow as they are serving and making a difference.
Can we help you?
If your church is looking for a church management software that can help with scheduling your teams, managing volunteers, and a whole lot more, we would love to serve you.