Churches cannot operate without a great army of positive volunteers.

(Pictured above: some of our awesome college leadership team!)

Building a consistent team of volunteers takes great leadership.

The true test of a good leader is being able to lead volunteers. 

Volunteers know that they don’t have to follow you. 

They aren’t getting paid. They can quit at any time.

They follow because they want to.

This post is all about how you can raise up people who want to serve at your church.

How Volunteering Changed My Life

I’m ALL ABOUT about leading volunteers because when I came to church, I felt like I had nothing to offer, I didn’t even feel good enough to volunteer!I felt like the last person picked on the team.

I hid myself in the back of the room so I wouldn’t be noticed.😓 Then one of the leaders asked me if I would be on the Welcome Team and told me I would be really good at it. What a compliment!!

The fact that one person believed in me and believed I could help others in a small way, has completely changed the course of my life. I would have never even taken the first step if someone didn’t believe in me. 🖤

People think I am charismatic and outgoing, but I always have to remind them, this is NOT who I was before I knew Jesus and before my leaders and Pastors decided to believe in me. 🙏🏻

I went from serving on the Welcome Team BARELY being able to talk to people, to leading a small group for 11 years counting, leading our college ministry for 8 years with my husband, teaching our training/leadership classes + getting into all the social/creative world!🙌🏻

I realized all God needs is a willing person, you don’t have to be the best or most talented person to offer something.

EVERYONE can serve. EVERYONE has something to offer. EVERYONE is valuable.

You and I both know that Churches cannot operate without an army of kick butt volunteers. But it takes GREAT leadership to lead people who don’t have to follow you (aka volunteers!)😉

7 Ways to Get People to Volunteer at Your Church

#1 Want Serving for People, not from People

It is common to think people shouldn’t serve or take a break from serving if they are struggling.

This is like saying that serving and helping others is bad for you and you should instead focus on yourself first. While in some cases  people should not be public for integrity, in most cases serving actually helps people in their healing journey.

Research shows that when we reach out to others in a supportive way, we increase our own healing by a factor of 63%! We are designed to serve each other. Serving actually helps the person who serves.(Think Learn Succeed by Dr. Caroline Leaf, Page 92)

Doing something for someone else, even in a small way, is an essential part of a healing protocol. 

Plus, volunteering has so many huge benefits for the volunteer like:

  • Getting more connected in the church
  • Finding you gifts and talents from God
  • Learning to have responsibility 
  • Learning to be selfless and help others 
  • Meeting new people and growing your community 
  • A healthy way to spend your time

Change your language and mindset when recruiting volunteers to want serving FOR them, they will feel the difference. 

#2 Clearly Define Roles To Minimize Unmet Expectations 

Undefined roles and expectations are the cause of so many unnecessary issues in volunteer teams. 

What happens is the leader of the team thinks you are going to do something, but you didn’t know that was a part of your role and now everyone is frustrated. 

To avoid this, write out simple job descriptions of volunteer roles. They don’t have to be fancy, just clear. Bullet points.

Go over those expectations as part of your volunteer onboarding process.

You can always adjust the roles as you go as things change but keep it in writing. 

This brings clarity, helps everyone to be on the same page and helps everyone to not take things personally.

When it comes to social media, volunteers also need extremely clear roles otherwise it's common to get frozen trying to figure out what to do.

You can always ask people if they feel their role is clear or if you can help clarify it for them. 

#3 Create Recurring Meetings For Every Team To Stay Connected

I am a fan of recurring meetings. You plan them once, set them up in your calendar and add everyone to the meeting, and you never have to plan it again! 

It’s hard to find a time when all volunteers can meet at the same time. So set a time that works best and go with it. 

This is the time that you can remind them of the vision of what the team does and also discuss what is going well and what needs to be improved. 

People need to be part of the process to have a greater buy-in. These meetings help them to feel part of the process.

For social media, you can also use this time to map out your social calendar, brainstorm new ideas and set goals of where you want to go. 

#4 Remind Your Volunteers of The Why  

Always bring your volunteers back to the reason why you do what you do. 

People serve for something greater than themselves. 

Tie what your volunteer team does into the greater mission of Jesus and your church.

Here are a few reasons why social media has a greater purpose than just getting more followers: 

  • You are communicating about Jesus to the entire online world. 
  • Your content has the potential to impact exponentially more people. 
  • What you post helps to shape the culture of your church throughout the week. 
  • Your social media is the first impression for a lot of people 

You can also describe why you do each procedure or policy. 

This way people will connect with it and it will create enthusiasm. Use stories and examples to help them remember.

#5 Make them Feel Needed and Known

The way you communicate to your volunteers has a huge impact. 

Some ways you can make your volunteers feel needed and known is: Smiling when you talk to them, thanking your volunteers, encouraging them, asking if they need help, serving them as the leader, and getting to know them personally. 

Taking the time and energy to build relationships is the key when it comes to leading volunteers. 

In John Maxwell’s book, 5 Levels of Leadership, he talks about how Level 2 of leadership is all about building relationships. 

This is where people actually start following you because they want to, not just because you have a position. 

Take the time to get to know your volunteers. You’d be surprised how far a 5 minute conversation asking about how they are doing will go.

#6 Don’t Let People Sit on Their Talents

A common blocker for a great volunteer team is not wanting to give full responsibility to people or greater responsibility because you aren’t sure if they will keep quality high. 

You will always get stuck if you have this mindset. 

For the people who need to practice, you will have to let them make mistakes and that is part of the process. 

If you allow someone to try something out, you never know how great they could become!

We all weren’t good at stuff when we first started, but someone let us take a stab at it. 

If you want to have high capacity, high quality volunteers they will want to have full ownership and be able to use their experience without being held back by micro-management. High functioning people need freedom to do things their way. 

This is really common for social media because you want to make sure your church is communicated correctly to the world. So we can really stifle a lot of talent and potential talent. 

This is understandable. For 3 fail-proof ways to get people started, head to this post! 

Find out what people love to do, let them try out different roles and find their place. 

#7 Remove Your Scarcity Mindset 

We need to believe there are plenty of people to serve, not no one willing to serve. 

This mindset is one of the biggest blockers to growing a successful volunteer team. 

If you think there is no one, there will be no one. 

See people's potential, see how volunteering would benefit them and provide opportunities to people so they can rise up to the occasion.

If you believe in people, people will start to respond. 

#8 Don’t Project On People That They Are Burnt Out

If a volunteer team leader serves at a high capacity, they may begin to project on people, to “not get overwhelmed” or to not get “burnt out”. 

I am just going to say it, I hate the words “burnt out.” 

We need to teach people to be responsible enough to say no when necessary and be done with it.

When people get “burnt out” it’s a sign to me that something else isn’t healthy in their life with God or in their relationship to the church.  

Usually "burnt out" people try to get some rest, and the rest doesn't help. Why? Because rest isn't the root of the problem.

In our culture people who don't do much just have the feeling of being “burnt out”. 

The moral of the story is to not project on people that they are too tired, let them say no if they need to and don't be afraid to call people into serving and taking on responsibility. It's good for them.


Volunteering at church can play a part in changing the course of someone's life.

Let's give people that opportunity!

Remember the 8 ways to get more volunteers at your church: 

#1 Want Serving for People, not from People

#2 Clearly Define Roles To Minimize Unmet Expectations

#3 Create Recurring Meetings For Every Team To Stay Connected

#4 Remind Your Volunteers of The Why

#5 Make them Feel Needed and Known

#6 Don’t Let People Sit on Their Talents

#7 Remove Your Scarcity Mindset 

#8 Don’t Project on People That They are Burnt Out

Jun 24, 2021
Team Building

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