5 Steps To Recruiting Church Volunteers


Volunteers are to the church what gasoline is to a car. Volunteers make churches run efficiently and effectively. If you're responsible for finding volunteers (which should be everyone on staff), you have a huge ministry within the local church. However, we hear from our clients that recruiting church volunteers is often one of the greatest challenges for today’s church leaders.

An important part of your church community’s spiritual growth is that your church members are exercising their spiritual gifts. When a church member is plugged in and helping lead ministries or serve at events, they experience a loyalty to their local church that isn’t experienced by only attending on Sunday mornings.

Here are a few of my thoughts on recruiting church volunteers:

1. Preach about it from the stage. If the Senior Pastor doesn't talk about, it's perceived by the congregation to be unimportant. The Senior Pastor has to tell stories about volunteers, show videos of key volunteers, and recognize ministries of the church where volunteers serve. People respond to vision, not need. Make volunteerism a key foundation of the church and cast a vision of why they should care.

2. Never ask for a show of hands for volunteers, especially in a worship service or large group meeting. This strategy communicates a feeling of desperation. The most high-capacity volunteers may not volunteer unless they are asked. Finding volunteers is like fishing. Teach your church staff to look for people who demonstrate leadership, friendship, and warm smiles. It is helpful to know what members of your church do for a living so the church has a gauge for interests, gifts, and abilities.  

3. Have an assimilation program that captures people who place membership in the church. For example, a newcomers class is a great place to encourage volunteering and teach the churches vision for volunteers. Look at this as an intern system where you can find future staff members.  

4. Make sure volunteers are trained in their task. Recruiting church volunteers is only part one. The healthiest churches are also developing their church volunteers. Teach your volunteers the importance of what they do and how to do it. Emphasis excellence and a "can do" attitude. Healthy churches set aside several hours on a regular basis to equip their volunteers to serve with excellence. Be mindful of the time commitment to which you are asking them to commit. Remember they are volunteers, not staff members.

5. Recognize volunteers personally. A hand written note is intentional and speaks volumes of yourappreciation, especially in a fast-paced, technologically driven world. Plan an annual celebration for what God is doing through the volunteer ministry. When volunteers see the fruit of their service, they are reminded of the vision for their ministry and why they serve.

Although it may be a challenge, recruiting church volunteers and developing them is vital to your church building the Kingdom in your local community.

What challenges do you experience when recruiting church volunteers? What solutions have you found helpful?