3 Qualities Of Outstanding Church Volunteers
By: Meredith Mohr December 21, 2017
We’ve all seen them – they’re the person you see at the door every Sunday, greeting you with a grin and a good morning. They’re the person wearing a “how can I help?” lanyard. They’re the person who writes thank you notes, runs to the dollar store for supplies, and organizes the lunchtime devotional schedule during the mission trip. They’re behind the scenes – filling out forms for you, herding children back to their parents, championing and cheerleading every step of the way as God moves in ministries.
They’re usually not on staff, and usually their work goes unnoticed. They’re constantly behind the scenes but without them, a ministry wouldn’t work as effectively.
They’re your volunteers, and they’re vitally important. So how do you get from needing a solid base of volunteers to having a volunteer team that maximizes the work of ministry or organization is doing?
As you’re building a team of volunteers, look for some of these key traits below.
1. Great church volunteers practice relational intentionality.
When I was a volunteer for middle school students, one of the greatest lessons I learned was the importance of relational intentionality. This essentially means you are purposeful in your friendships. You seek out the kid sitting by themselves. You bend over backwards to make someone feel special and seen.
Relational intentionality is one of the most valuable traits you can have in a ministry volunteer because they will be able to pull people in and get them connected within the church. Relationally elite volunteers are those who will go sit down beside someone who is sitting alone at a church service twenty minutes early and make friends with them. That connection is an ideal starting place for ministry to happen.
2. Nothing fazes them.
Looking for a great volunteer? Find the person who will do the job no one else wants to do. Look for the person who can cheerfully high five a scowling kid who was dragged to youth group. Look for the person who is endlessly patient with endless possibilities for frustration: lost waiver forms, difficult parents, relational drama, and even differing personalities.
The ability to jump in and learn goes hand-in-hand with this trait. As a ministry leader or director, there are often so many tasks that need to be done in the moment that an ideal volunteer will take initiative and help out.
3. They are in a role that is a unique fit for them.
You should assign volunteers to areas where their gifts and strengths are maximized. If you have someone who has a great eye for stories and can spot them and tell them well, put them on your social media team. They could help grow your Instagram following or manage your Facebook posts to engage and capture the attention of people you want to get involved.
If you have someone who is more a wallflower type (works best while they’re busy doing something and not having to socialize), there’s a spot for them too. Stuffing envelopes, prepping food, building something with tools and wood, or whatever hands-on work you have are great options for these volunteers.
You might also pay attention to which volunteers have special circumstances that could identify a great role specifically for them. When I first became a volunteer, I started at a time when I had a flexible day job situation – I could work remotely and often had free time to attend key moments. That situation was ideal for the role, whereas someone who were working in an office farther away might be more limited in which events they could attend.
When you can fit volunteers into this setup, they’ll flourish and more importantly – stay around as a volunteer. Your volunteers are vitally important to the building and nurturing of your ministry work – you couldn’t do nearly as much without them as you could with them. They bring a relational vitality to the work you’re doing. Once you find a great volunteer, the process becomes seamless, and the progress seems endless.
What other traits have you identified as particularly valuable for your ministry?