I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering. Because volunteering comes up so often when I work with churches I’ve ended up writing about volunteering quite a bit over the years. Here are some of the more popular posts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 1-in-4 adults volunteered their time in 2013. Altogether, 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours in 2013. Based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion. People in the community you live in volunteer their time. That includes people in your community who know Jesus and those who don’t know Jesus. But are they volunteering at your church?
Most church leaders I speak with identify a shortage of volunteers and volunteer leaders as one of the top 5 issues holding their church back from reaching the vision that Jesus has given them. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can build a strong volunteer culture at your church by implementing the following 8 principles.
Did you know that there is a direct connection between the amount of money a church invests in staffing and the number of people who volunteer? What we’ve discovered in our research at the Unstuck Group is that the as a church increases its spending on staffing the number of people volunteering decreases.
I was recently on a Southwest Airlines flight and witnessed one of the most amazing volunteer moments I’ve ever seen. When it came time for the midflight snack of pretzels and peanuts a woman on the flight stepped up and volunteered to pass out the snack. And here’s the amazing thing…they let her! No application, no waiver, and no complex training classes. They simply handed over the basket of snacks and said go for it! Watching this whole thing go down I couldn’t help but think about how difficult we make it for people in the church to volunteer. Here are a couple of observations from that moment that I think are worth the church considering.
Your church is full of talented volunteers. In fact the people who attend your church are so talented that companies actually hire them to do jobs everyday and they actually get paid for it (sarcasm indented). The real issue is that the church needs to change the scorecard. We need to shift the focus of paid-staff from ministry production and execution to volunteer and leadership development. The churches that do this understand the following 5 principles and the incredible results that accompany applying them.
The reason why this has to be a front-burner issue is because at the heart of it, volunteering is an essential component of the discipleship process in someone’s life. Plainly put, volunteering is discipleship. Understanding that, here are 8 reasons people aren’t volunteering in your church…and subsequently aren’t growing in their relationship with God.
If you’re on staff at a church your job is essentially to be a volunteer specialist. And while volumes have been written on building and leading volunteer organizations, below are four simple (while not easy) principles that should be at the foundation of your philosophy of volunteerism.
The most important asset you have as a Pastor is not your buildings, budget, or even your vision. It is the people that God has entrusted to you. So below are a few thoughts that may help you in building and leading this volunteer organization called the Church. For your volunteers to jump on board, and stay on board, you’ve got to answer 4 key questions for them…
While a lot of churches need more volunteers, most don’t know why they need more volunteers, or why it’s difficult for them to enlist and keep new volunteers.
As they grow, many churches eagerly anticipate the moment when they’re finally big enough that they can afford to hire more staff and offer more ministry options for people. For example I’ve heard churches say they can’t wait to hire a Men’s Ministry Pastor. Nothing against Men’s Ministry per se, but that’s an expensive model. If you run it out to its logical end you’re going to have a lot of people on your payroll. Paying people to “do” ministry instead of “lead” ministry is an expensive mistake that many churches fall into. Here are 3 principles that will help you focus the Staffing & Volunteer philosophy at your church.