One of the toughest jobs any leader can have is to recruit and keep volunteers. In today’s blog, we will look at five ways to do just that. Most of the material is found in a great resource called:
Connect: How to Double Your Number of Volunteers by Searcy, Nelson; Dykes Henson, Jennifer (2012).
1. Limit time of service.
No one likes to hear “until Jesus comes” as a response to the question “how long will this assignment last?” Searcy says it this way: “Encourage the involvement of new people by always putting a time limit on serving. In other words, never allow anyone to step into a ministry position without putting time boundaries on his service. If you provide no time limits, two things will happen: Your volunteers will burn out. You will lose invaluable opportunities to mobilize new servers.” He adds (interesting angle!) “God was putting this principle to work when he mandated that we observe the Sabbath. We would do well to embrace its power in every area.”
2. Shadow service.
Your best recruiters are the people that are already serving and love it! “Plan a shadow day. Put a shadow day on your calendar, and invite every person who is currently serving to bring a friend to shadow them that day.” The best way of knowing what your gifts are is not taking a 40 question test, is actually serving for a short time to see if it’s a good fit.
3. Ministry fair.
“Hold a ministry/ volunteer fair. Once a year, hold a ministry fair to make people aware of all of the serving opportunities available to them.” This works best if you advertise it well in advance, have specific and clear instructions as well as guidelines on what the jobs entail. Make it easier for them to follow through after the event by having a sign up and flyer. Don’t put all your eggs in a ministry fair, but it can be very helpful. Don’t hold these in times of the year where people are out like summer or Easter. Early fall, or spring are the best times.
4. Multiple teams.
This might be a challenge to smaller churches, but if I have seen over and over God honoring the faith of pastors that decided to trust Him for an increase. Searcy encourages us to dream bigger. “Let me challenge you to let go of that scarcity mentality. God has droves of people whom he wants to plug into your ministries— for your church’s benefit and for their own. Let’s not let our limited thinking limit his plans. The principle of spiritual readiness says we must prepare and plan for the harvest before God will send it to us.”
5. Special Occasions.
Mothers day. Fathers day. Christmas. Education day. Youth day. Women’s ministry day. The possibilities are endless. “Use big days and special events to challenge people to serve. Never waste an opportunity to get new people involved in ministry. Leverage every big event and special occasion.”
Today I will pray for you and your volunteer situation. If you have any special requests, please leave them in the comment section or message me directly. I’d love to pray for you.