5 Ways To Create Church Volunteer Opportunities For Everyone
By: Nicole Cochran
Volunteering is a wonderful way to get plugged into your church, feel like part of a community, and serve Jesus at the same time. I was talking with a friend the other day, and she mentioned how much she would love to volunteer in the Children’s Ministry at her church. She felt that couldn’t volunteer because she couldn’t commit to being available when they needed her.
I’m sure we all know people who live with an ever-increasing calendar or demanding jobs - always somewhere to go and be. Many people travel for work, others live far from their church, and some have families who claim their time during the week. Whatever busy-ness ensues in people’s lives, creating more opportunities for people to plug into volunteering at your church - opportunities that don't require an ongoing commitment - will establish a culture of serving within your church.
Here are 5 ways to create additional volunteer opportunities that everyone can be involved:
1. Holiday Or Special Event Opportunities
One-time events are ideal volunteer opportunities for those whose busy schedules don’t allow them to commit weekly. Christmas and Easter services tend to take more hands to pull together all the details, and numerous volunteers are needed. Normal Sunday volunteer roles are multiplied; more greeters, more children’s ministry volunteers, and more parking attendants. Does your church normally offer donuts and coffee? Ask for a few volunteers to bake muffins or Christmas cookies for the service too. Other special events that your church puts on (fall carnival, end of year party, etc.) will all take many hands to pull off. You might be surprised who will step up to volunteer when they can commit just a couple of hours.
2. Family-Oriented Volunteer Opportunities
Opportunities that invite the whole family to join in will allow those with young children to serve alongside teens and their parents. Whether it’s inviting whole families to greet or intentionally creating outreach projects centered for families of all ages, these opportunities will help to include those who might not be able to commit to other volunteer projects.
The church I grew up in created weekend mission trips that invited the whole family along. While some built walls for houses, others pulled weeds in the garden, and still others served at a soup kitchen. The purpose of these trips was to serve the community, and while the way each individual served varied, everyone was invited along.
3. Opportunities Throughout The Week
Sundays and Wednesdays are often the days people think of typical “church” days, as that tends to be when most activities are focused. Creating opportunities on a variety of days will help to include everyone. For some, Sundays may work best because they won’t have to drive to the church multiple times a week. Perhaps try creating an outreach opportunity on a Monday or Thursday; you may be pleasantly surprised to see a different crowd of volunteers there.
One area many people are gifted in is listening and visiting with those in need. A great area to invite volunteers into is hospital visitations and spending time with the homebound. Utilize these gifts by asking volunteers to visit with a patient weekly or biweekly. It will deepen relationships while providing those who want an opportunity to serve to do so permitting to their schedule.
4. Opportunities For Youth & Teens
Similar to opportunities for families, creating specific opportunities for youth and teens will include a different set of individuals willing to serve. Creating opportunities to serve that are fun and can be done alongside friends will introduce youth to the joys of serving the church. This is also a wonderful chance for youth to invite their friends along, opening the door to further church involvement. Get creative with opportunities for teens; invite them to volunteer with the younger kids, or serve in special ways during Sunday service. Encouraging teens to volunteer will equip them with valuable skills in the future.
5. No Long Term Commitment
So many opportunities to serve require a long-term commitment. Like my friend who would love to serve in KidMin, creating opportunities to keep people involved will boost your volunteer base and keep your volunteers coming back. Serving communion, reading scripture, and having an “extras” list for Children’s classes are all great opportunities to invite new volunteers in. Perhaps you could wait until Sunday morning to ask someone to help serve communion. They may not be able to commit to a particular schedule, but if they are already there, they will most likely be willing.
Brainstorm ways to invite volunteers into large and small spaces or activities, places that they can use their gifts to glorify God, but in a way that is sustainable for them.
What are some more ways to involve more volunteers at your church?