Churches Are Challenged to Find That Next Valuable Volunteer

Churches Are Challenged to Find That Next Valuable Volunteer

Each week talented people enter the doors of your church and see "all the musicians you need," properly displayed lyrics, some kind of lighting, and they can hear everything, so they assume you probably do not need them.

Volunteer recruiting is one of the best and worst jobs that any church leader has to do.

The best way to create a culture of inviters is simply to create a culture that people want to be a part of.

On one hand, we love to empower our people to do the work of ministry and give more and more people an opportunity to serve. On the other hand, trying to get a warm body in a hard-to-fill role can feel like trying to pull teeth, while juggling chainsaws.

Those of us who work at a church, think of ourselves as "in the ministry," but in reality, everyone that comes into a relationship with Jesus becomes a minister. In fact, we have stopped using the term "volunteer" at Trinity Church, and instead call everyone serving "Ministry Partners."

Maybe you have stopped using the term volunteer as well, or maybe you can come up with a name you like better. The bottom line is, people need to understand they are not volunteering to fill a spot, but rather investing in the future of God's kingdom, by ministering in your church. This can be in very public ways, such as teaching, singing, or preaching, but primarily people work behind the scenes running cameras, adjusting lights, making coffee, holding babies, and taping cables.

I do not believe that anyone has truly unlocked the secret to perfect recruiting, but here are a few things I have picked up along the way that will hopefully be helpful to you and your ministry.

1. You have to let people know there's a spot to serve.

I know this sounds really obvious, but perhaps the reason you do not have people filling a particular role is simply because no one knows they can. Each week talented people enter the doors of your church and see "all the musicians you need," properly displayed lyrics, some kind of lighting, and they can hear everything, so they assume you probably do not need them.

I had a guitar player once that used to tour internationally with some major bands you have probably heard of, that sat in our church for almost a year, before he let me know he could play and he could play. In addition, we have a lady who used to run lights and stage manage a major opera house. I am constantly amazed by the people God brings into our ministry, and even more amazed at my inability to see them.

We host an annual auditions and interview process for new worship arts team members. This is not the only time we recruit, but we make a big push each fall mostly to tell people not that we need them, but that there is a place for them to serve. Each year, people come from seemingly nowhere to join our team.

2. You can never have too many people

Again, this might sound obvious too, but it might be tempting to think that since you have enough sound techs to cover a church's Sunday service rotation, that you are set with all you need. You never know when someone will be sick, get a job transfer, or just be ready to move to a different ministry.

Repeating what I mentioned above, you also do not know who you might have waiting in the wings and what they could potentially add to your ministry. We recently added a sound tech with no experience, but she had a great musical ear and quickly learned the technology, now she creates consistently quality mixes each and every week she serves.

3. People need to be asked

Sometimes just asking a person directly is all it takes to bring a new person onto your team. In my experience, no number of announcements, Facebook ads, or sign-up sheets has the same power as just asking someone face to face. Of course, the larger your team and church becomes, the more difficult it will be for the leaders of the team to doing all the asking, so you will also need to cultivate a culture of inviters.

The best way to create a culture of inviters is simply to create a culture that people want to be a part of. This brings me to my final point.

4. Create a great ministry culture

If your Ministry Partners are excited about what they are doing and they feel known by people and cared for, it is likely they will want to bring others they know into your community of servants as well. We have four core values (that I borrowed from another church): Core, Character, Craft, and Community. We strive for a deep and growing relationship with God, to live lives on integrity, to work on improving our area of ministry, and to have fun and create great friendships with one another. My guess is, you strive for some version of that with your team as well.

Finding the right people to share the ministry load can be difficult and frustrating, but is also the most rewarding thing that we can do as ministry leaders. After all, ministry is not about filling seats or getting tasks done, it's about people.

We should never be recruiting in order to get a job done, but we should be recruiting that more people have the opportunity to enter into some form of discipleship.

If our recruiting is driven by discipleship, it should motivate us to constantly bring new people into our organization, never cease growing, and work to find a place for as many people as possible in our ministries.

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