4 Ways To Fully Utilize Your Volunteers' Strengths
By: Vanderbloemen November 8, 2017
Volunteers are the lifeblood of every church, no matter the size. Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of choosing from a huge pool of willing people for specific roles, placing them based on their gifts in a corresponding ministry. You might have to hope for dedicated congregants who will serve wherever there’s a need, giving their all in a ministry area that might not be the best match for their particular strengths.
As your ministries develop, however, the goal should be to recruit and develop volunteers who are a good fit for the area in which they are serving. But how do you do this?
1. Have an easy entry point for volunteers.
Once members of your church have met the basic qualifications you require for volunteering, let them start volunteering in an area that requires less specialized gifting, like greeting or behind-the-scenes setup. At my last church, even though I’m a major introvert, I started serving on our Connections Team and eventually ran it before transitioning to the worship team. Serving on the Connections Team gave me ownership in the church and also allowed leadership to gain insight into my character and gifts before entrusting me with greater responsibility.
2. Incorporate gifts testing into your new member process.
You probably already require that potential new members of your church go through a series of classes before joining. You can easily offer some kind of personality and/or gifts testing into the last class of your series. This can be something simple like a free version of the MBTI or a spiritual gifts inventory, or a paid personality test like the DISC. This will help your new members get a better idea of where they might best serve your church.
Download our team's free ebook, The Church Leader's Guide To Personality Assessments, to help you choose which one is best for your team.
3. Schedule a time for re-evaluation.
Ask volunteers to commit for a specified amount of time—perhaps a semester at a time—and revisit their membership in your ministry team at the end of that period. This gives volunteers a chance to invest in a ministry for a season without feeling tied to it indefinitely if it’s not the right fit. And it provides you with a clear time to transition a volunteer to another ministry where they might be able to serve better. It’s easier for both parties to have what could be a difficult or awkward conversation if there’s a scheduled time for that conversation to take place.
4. Have a variety of volunteer offerings that lend themselves to a broad range of strengths.
If all your service opportunities require your volunteers to be speakers or amazing kid-wrangles, then you’ll be excluding congregants with different gifts, and you’ll also be limiting their chances to discover any other strengths they may have. They’ll only learn that they’re not good at those two things and probably get discouraged from serving in your church.
You need people to plan, manage, make coffee, seat people, fold bulletins, schedule events, and a million other things. And you have members in your church with the skills and willingness to do those things. So give them a chance to serve, too.
How have you successfully managed the volunteers on your team?