How To Develop High-Level Volunteer Leaders
A common phrase often heard from church leaders is, “We need more volunteers.” Between hospitality, kids ministry, student programs, adult groups, weekly office help, and many more categories, church leaders feel the constant pressure of recruitment. Volunteer recruitment has been and continues to be a hot topic and a great felt deficit in the church. Here are some practical ways to develop high-level volunteer leaders within your church.
1. Always Cast Vision
People need to feel connected to the opportunity. As the church leader, communicate purpose and keep the mission at the forefront of their minds. One extremely beneficial tool of vision-casting is storytelling. Think of the child who accepted Jesus into his/her heart last weekend, the student who raised their hand during an alter call, or the person who came to the church seeking refuge and help. Those are the emotions people will be inspired by and want to be a part of that life change.
How do you get these stories? Develop relationships with people and develop a culture where your current volunteers feel excited to share them with you. After all, they are the ones on your front line seeing and hearing these experiences from kids, students, and adults. Bring them along with you and ask them to keep an eye out for these stories. It will make them feel valued and transfer authority they didn’t think they were allowed to have.
Get these stories and real life moments in front of people by sharing on your church website, social media, weekly emails, and group meetings. Anywhere you have the opportunity to speak to your congregation in person, don’t leave that meeting without sharing a story or two about what God is doing in the lives of your church. If you’ve communicated effectively, it will be easy to share your serving opportunities with them and for them to say yes!
2. Have a Process for After They Say Yes
Have a streamlined onboarding system in place. If there’s anything frustrating, it’s when you sign up to do something and there isn’t clear communication or step-by-step instructions. Utilize electronic forms on your website to capture contact information, track their progress in the process, ensure you have all required documents like approved background checks, t-shirt size, etc.
When they say yes make sure you communicate exactly what they need to do next. If that’s filling out a form, bring it with you and have them complete it right there before you leave. Give them your expectations and even communicate what they can expect from you such as, when they’ll be hearing from you, how long the entire process will take before they are actually in the game serving. People don’t like the unknown because it makes them feel uncomfortable. You want them leaving that meeting or conversation feeling inspired, confident, and sure of next steps. If they feel uneasy or disorganized, they may lose that passion they felt when they said yes.
3. Create a Place of Belonging When They Begin Serving
Create a place your volunteers can belong. The initial passion they felt when they began serving will only take them so far in their serving journey. People were made for relationships and this will keep them coming back. If they are serving with their friends or people they connect with, it will be a lot easier for it to be a fun experience and produce an environment of accountability.
You can create a place of belonging by hosting “mixers” or appreciation events where they can get to know one another. Volunteers also want to get to know you! Share about your life and how God is working within it weekly. People are drawn to authenticity so include them in on your life. You can also create a Facebook group or an area on your website where you can post videos about yourself, feature key leaders, share important information, and even encourage them daily. This group can also be a place where they feel safe to interact, be heard, and engage with other volunteers. Make serving a fun place to be through creating community and this will lead them to bring even more people along!
Most churches of any size rely greatly on volunteer leaders from within the church to fulfill key roles. This allows churches to effectively reach others, share the gospel and change the lives of others through evangelism. Creating a system for developing volunteer leaders in the church, and providing a place of belonging and inclusion for them, makes these leaders feel part of something bigger than them. Continuing to inspire and develop those leaders and recruit new ones from within your church can guarantee your organization can be successful in your mission.