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Top Posts of 2013 #7: “8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at Your Church”

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One of the most popular topics this year on Helping Churches Make Vision Real was volunteers. That’s why this post checked in at number 8.

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. This is a critical issue for churches to figure out. 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.

1. Don’t Feel Needed

Many people come to church week in and week out, they have an incredible experience and go home thinking, “All of this happens every week without me, what do they need me for?” Churches need to provide vision for people to volunteer and tie it to the spiritual growth process of the church.

2. They Think Staff Should do it

Some people simply have an unbiblical view of church…that the Church Staff should do everything. And unfortunately many churches have only reinforced this with a heavy staffing model and in so doing unfortunately built a culture that says, “Only professional Christians can do ministry.” Churches need to equip, empower, and release their volunteers.

3. Poor Past Experience

Many people have volunteered in the past and had a bad experience. They weren’t supported, encouraged, cared for well, or set up to succeed and they’re not sure they want to put themselves in that position again.

4. Don’t Feel Qualified

Many people don’t feel qualified or worthy to volunteer at a church. I’ve met incredible business leaders and military leaders who won’t volunteer in their churches because they don’t feel spiritually worthy. You need to help people understand that they are gifted and created to serve…even in the church.

5. Too Much Commitment

Some people are either at a stage of life or are over committed with other things and don’t have the time to volunteer. Churches need to provide these folks with easy low commitment opportunities to volunteer and perhaps a bit of coaching to move towards a sustainable pace in their lives.

6. Fear of Commitment

Some people simply are afraid that if they volunteer once then they’re in it for life. They’re afraid of making a commitment that never ends. So provide them with short term opportunities to experiment with volunteering and easy outs or off ramps from seasons of volunteering.

7. 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.

8. Criminal Record

Yea, so you know that background check you run on people who volunteer with minors (and you should)…some people don’t want their past brought up on the results of that background check. So, help them get volunteering somewhere else.


Posted in Volunteers

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