3 C’s To Recruiting & Retaining Church Volunteers


As I wrote in my previous article, How to Recruit Church Volunteers & Create a Culture of Service, recruiting and retaining volunteers is one of the most difficult challenges for church leaders.

In that article, I discussed the barriers people face when deciding to volunteer. In this article, I'll discuss three characteristics I recommend churches focus on when recruiting and developing volunteers.

Compassion – Volunteers need to feel a sense of compassion for the people they serve. People want to know how they are making a difference in the lives of the people they greet or the children they teach. Tell stories about how they are making a difference that touch the hearts of your volunteers. Show pictures and videos of your volunteers in action to show tangible ways they are making a difference in their community.

Contagious – Volunteerism is contagious. If one person who visits your church is influenced by the volunteers who have served them, they will naturally want to do the same for someone else. People want to serve if they’ve been served. When developing volunteer programs, focus on building community within the volunteer teams. Consider setting aside five to seven minutes for the team to pray before getting to work, providing a meal for them to eat over each week, or a retreat for them to get to know each other more. When people feel they are accountable to a community who depends on them, they are more likely to invest for the long-term. 

Celebrate – Shower words of affirmation and appreciation upon your volunteers on a weekly basis. Make sure that they know that you can’t do your job without their help and that their impact is greater than they know. One way to do this is to have a banquet just for your volunteers where the church staff serves them and provides them with stories of how their service has made a difference in other people’s lives. People want to know they are a part of something greater than themselves. Share stories of how all the volunteers are influencing their community. We've written several articles on why celebrating with your team is crucial and creative ways you can encourage them.

With these things in mind, you can help improve your congregation’s desire to serve in your church and create a magnetic atmosphere around your church as a whole. Volunteers really are the lifeblood of the church, so make sure you invest in them consistently.

What tips do you have for church leaders struggling with recruiting and retaining church volunteers?