Archive - Volunteers RSS Feed

6

5 Symptoms Your Church Needs More Volunteers

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.

Through our research at the Unstuck Group we’ve discovered that the average church in America has 43% of their adults and students volunteering somewhere in the church. Follow this link if you’re interested in learning if your church is healthy in this area and others.

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.

1. Your “span of care” is too broad

If you can’t care for your volunteers, you’re not going to keep your volunteers very long. Because they’ll begin to sense that you want something from them not for them. In business-world Fortune 500 CEOs usually only have seven direct reports. That’s probably a great rule of thumb for ministry-world as well. A simple way to figure this out in your context is to add up the number of volunteers and then divide by the number of staff and volunteer leaders. If the result is more than seven, then you have a span of care issue and you need more leaders.

2. You have too many staff

One symptom I see over and over again in churches that struggle with building an effective volunteer ministry is that they are over-staffed. Instead of paying staff to lead, develop, and disciple people in the church they pay the staff to do the ministry. The research we’ve done at the Unstuck Group working with literally 100’s of churches has shown us that if you’re staffed at a ratio higher than 1:100 (1 FTE Staff Member for every 100 people attending your church) you’re overstaffed.

3. Every decision comes back to your desk

If every decision is coming back to your desk you haven’t figured out how to empower people. Empowering people first starts with clarifying the mission, vision, values and strategy. It means clearly articulating the role for volunteers, helping them understand how to make decisions that help the church move towards its vision, and then moving people from doing tasks to leading their teams.

4 Using people instead of developing people

Many churches I’ve observed view volunteering as roles to be filled instead of people to be developed. Here’s what I know, when you’re primarily focused on the number of volunteers you have and the ratios you have in classrooms you’ll never have enough volunteers. On the other hand when you primarily focus volunteers as people to be developed and discipleship, you’re far less likely to have a volunteer shortage. Because after all volunteering is discipleship.

5. It’s Difficult to get Involved

The number one complaint I hear from people who want to volunteer in churches who don’t is that they’ve tried to volunteer, they’ve signed up, they want to but they don’t know how to get involved, it was hard to get involved (they had to take multiple classes or be a member of the church prior to volunteering), or no one ever called them back. Does your church make it easy or difficult for people to get involved and start volunteering?


Posted in Leadership, Volunteers

0

Why Volunteering is the Biggest Issue Facing the Church

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve never coached a church leader or consulted with a church that said they had enough volunteers. In fact, 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. But contrary to the popular belief among many church staff, the issue isn’t a poor talent pool. 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.

1. Volunteering makes your Church “Sticky”

Want to figure out how to close the proverbial backdoor of your church and keep people from “leaving?” Then get people volunteering. People come to church for all kinds of reasons. But the top two reasons people stay at a church are “relationships” and “responsibility.” Volunteering checks both of those boxes!

2. Volunteering is a Pathway to Small Groups

Most churches used to buy into linear thinking that says people come to church, then get into a small group and then start volunteering. That’s actually backwards. It’s way less threatening to volunteer and serve than it is to jump into a small group bible study at some strangers’ house with a bunch of other strangers. And guess what happens as people volunteer? They begin to develop friendships with other people they’re volunteering with and then get into small group bible studies with friends instead of strangers.

3. Volunteers are more Generous

It’s negligent of me not to point this simple fact out. That is, people who volunteer are more likely to be generous financially towards your church. The fact that they are volunteering means they’re with you and on some level buy into the vision of where you’re going as a church because they’re wiling to put their time towards it. Jesus said it this way, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

4. Volunteering is Discipleship

I’ve written previously that many churches still view volunteering as roles that need to be filled instead of people that need to be developed. Most churches are missing the boat on this simple fact: that people grow spiritually through volunteering and tangibly learning to live an others oriented life. The first Sunday School Class I taught, the first Mission Trip I went on…etc. I grew and gained far more than I ever gave.

5. Volunteering is the Biblical Mandate for the Church

“Volunteer Development” can be described as the two-word long job description of every staff person who receives a paycheck at a church. The Apostle Paul put it this way…”And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

 


Posted in Volunteers

1

The 5 Most Important Indicators of a Healthy Church

growth

Numbers can be overwhelming. I’ve seen churches keep numbers and measure all kinds of things. First time guests, returning guests, empty parking stalls during services, kids attendance, student attendance, short-term mission trip participation, first time givers, on and on the list goes…literally. None of these (or other categories not listed) are necessarily bad things to measure. In fact in totality they can help you gain understanding as to which direction things are moving at your church. The thing is, there are a lot of things you could measure, a lot of things you could pay attention to. But what are the most important things to pay attention to? I know some people will disagree with me, but based on my experience working with churches around the country, and being a guy that’s in the trenches day to day at a local church, the 5 most important numbers to keep a pulse on are the following.

1. Baptisms

You can measure first time guests and the number of people who say yes to following Jesus (and you should); but the most important number to measure in all of that is baptisms, because the other two numbers are wrapped up in the number of people being baptized at your church. And after all, this is the whole point of the church to help people follow Jesus, and a public declaration of that intent is a huge part of that process.

2. Volunteers

The number of unique volunteers you have serving at your church tells you two really important things. First it tells you who is with you. Who is bought into the vision of where you believe Jesus is uniquely leading your church. After all in today’s’ world it’s a lot easier to give some money than it is to give time. These are all-in people. It also helps you identify and develop potential leaders in your church, because volunteering is discipleship. You can’t follow Jesus without learning to live an others oriented life!

3. Groups

Simply put life-change happens best in groups…in the context of friendships, because after all what we are being discipled to when we follow Jesus, is friendship with Jesus. This is where people “work out” their belief system and begin to change their thinking. This number gives you an indicator of the number of people who are being discipled and moving towards what Jesus wants them to become.

4. Giving

You cannot follow Jesus without giving and serving. Giving is an indicator of the level of buy-in people have in the direction you’re moving as a church. Healthy churches have a strategy to help their people become more generous. Not because they want something from them, but because they want something for them. They want them to look and live like Jesus. They aren’t simply teaching or telling their people to give, there is a holistic strategy to help them move towards becoming generous like Jesus.

5. Attendance

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? It may be simple but attendance numbers matter. Numbers count because people count. Every number has a name and every name has a story. The goal of the Gospel movement, called the Church, that Jesus started was not that it would get smaller and less influential, but rather that it would become a movement that would go to the ends of the Earth!

Interested in discovering how healthy your church is? Take the step to engage the Unstuck Group in a comprehensive Ministry Health Assessment of your church!

Photo Credit: griseldangelo1 via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Volunteers

2

How many People should be Volunteering at your Church?

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.

Translation: if you want more people to volunteer at your church you may need to spend less on staffing.

What we’ve learned through our experience and research is that the average church in America is mobilizing 43% of their adult and student population in volunteer opportunities. The reason it is so critical for churches to address this and take steps to move their culture in the right direction is because volunteering is discipleship. It’s not about filling roles and getting ministry done through people. It’s not about what we want from people, but rather what we want for people. Mobilizing people into volunteer roles is the ministry of pastors and church leaders. It is discipleship. Because volunteering and living an others first life is the very essence of what it means to live like Jesus.

Interested in learning more? Download the ebook “Vital Signs: Meaningful Metrics That Keep a Pulse on Your Church’s Health” or consider engaging the Unstuck Group to do a Ministry Health Assessment with your church to discover the health levels at your church and develop a plan to move things forward.

In the meantime below is a free exercise you can do with your team to begin addressing the volunteer culture at your church:

Continue Reading…


Posted in Leadership, Volunteers

22

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year.

It’s not uncommon in churches that I work with to hear them say, “We need to add more staff.” After all if there are problems or areas where the church is stuck then throwing staff at that problem will surely fix it…right? Well, not always. In fact the opposite may be true. In fact the most effective churches that I see have a tendency to hire fewer staff not more staff. They hire more competent team members who have the ability to turn attenders into volunteers, volunteers into leaders, and build teams. Instead of paying people to do ministry they pay people to lead others to do ministry.

At the Unstuck Group we encourage churches to staff to a ratio of 100:1. As you can see in the chart above the average ratio of attendance to staff in most churches is 86:1. In other words for every 86 people in attendance at the church (including adults and kids), there’s typically one full-time staff person.

This number includes all paid staff at the church. That means administrative staff, support staff, ministry staff and pastors. This number also includes both full-time and part-time staff. We calculate the full-time equivalent (FTE) number by adding the total average number of hours part-time staff work and then dividing by 40. That number is added to the number of full-time staff to get the FTEs. For example, if there are 5 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees working a combined average of 200 hours per week, that makes for a total of 10 FTE’s.

Over staffing is a big deal in churches because it’s usually an indicator that:

1. The church has become Insider Focused

Typically an overstaffed church is paying people to do ministry and run programs to keep long-time people in the church happy.

2. The church has a Poor Culture of Volunteerism

There is a direct connection between staffing and volunteerism at churches. Generally the more a church spends on staffing the less likely attenders are to serve.

3. The church has Stopped Growing

There is also a direct connection between staffing and church growth. What we’ve discovered in our research at the Unstuck Group is that the more a church spends on staff the more the rate of attendance growth slows.

In other words the more staff your church has the more likely your church is to become insider focused, have a low level of buy-in and volunteerism by attenders, and to be plateaued or in decline.

Interested in learning more? Download the ebook “Vital Signs: Meaningful Metrics That Keep a Pulse on Your Church’s Health” or consider engaging the Unstuck Group to do a Ministry Health Assessment with your church.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing, Volunteers
Page 4 of 8« First...«23456»...Last »