With identifying roles, recruiting, training, supporting, encouraging, and appreciating, volunteer management can quickly seem like an overwhelming task. Add to all of this that the ways in which members can be involved are many and varied. Some things are ongoing over a number of months or years (serving on a board or committee, teaching a class, running the livestream), while others are shorter-term or one-time events (Vacation Bible School, spring clean-up day, coordinating a church-wide picnic).
When our twin boys were first beginning to eat solid food, we introduced three simple signs to help them communicate with us: more please, all done, and thank you. While I could probably extrapolate on each of these as it relates to those who serve in our congregations, today we’ll focus on saying “thank you.” Communicating appreciation not only acknowledges the work put into a particular project or effort and the sacrifices made to do so but also is an opportunity to share how an individual or group’s input contributes to the work of the Body of Christ in your particular context.
Though not new, the opportunities for people to serve in technology-related roles have greatly expanded in many congregations. Joining the ranks of service mainstays in the church, technology teams are now just about as prevalent in the regular functioning of a congregation as the altar guild, trustees, and board of education.
My eyes have been opened over the last two years about showing appreciation. Not that I wasn’t appreciative before, but now that I’m in development, appreciation has become a large part of my role in ministry and I’m much more conscious of showing it.
If no man is an island that goes double for churches. It would be downright impossible for one person to do everything. Now, the bigger a church gets the more staff and volunteers are needed to do the work of calling all to faith. And, the more staff and volunteers a church has the more imperative it is for effective organization and behind the scenes communication.
It doesn’t really matter how large your congregation is, there will always be more work to do than your church staff can handle on their own. If you take a good look at thriving congregations, their church staff typically isn’t comprised of doers; it is comprised of equippers. Of course, staff workers will end up doing a lot of the work themselves, but to really get things done, they need to be able to equip their volunteers to assist them in doing the work.
Vacation Bible School has a long history of doing things creatively. When looking at ways to recruit and train volunteers for this ministry, why not follow in that vein?
It might make sense to recruit volunteers and then train them for VBS or any other event or need your church may have. Yet, training information is important to have when recruiting.
When working with other people, you will inevitably run into those who are different from you—different in terms of work style, work ethic, and personality.
We are all unique, but those differences make us who we are. How we work, how we collaborate, and how we interact with others is often determined by our personality.
If you’ve ever been in charge of volunteers, you’ve experienced one of the most stressful jobs in a church. People are prone to forget or cancel on a moment's notice, and while they often come full of energy, that excitement wanes after a few hours out in the hot sun.
So how can your church recruit and retain volunteers? Whether you’re looking for help with a one-time project or for someone to offer support on a regular basis, here are a few ideas to make the most of your eager volunteers.