Every ministry leader knows the pressure and frustration of not having enough workers. The question then is, “how do we find more volunteers?”
The answer is to recruit them. That’s a hard word for some ministry leaders to handle. They want volunteers to, well, volunteer. While that sometimes happens, more often it doesn’t. Workers have to be recruited. That doesn’t mean leaders have to be salespeople, cajoling people into “doing something for God” by heaping on guilt. It also doesn’t mean begging or threatening people to get them to do something. Recruiting can have much more positive connotations.
Recruiting begins with intentionality. It starts with creating volunteer positions that include job descriptions, time commitments, training opportunities, and supervisory structures. Yes, all those things are essential before asking someone to take on a volunteer responsibility. One of the reasons people don’t volunteer is the roles and responsibilities are too nebulous. Solving these problems is prerequisite to gaining new volunteers.
Recruiting volunteers is more about matching people with opportunities than filling boxes on an organizational chart or getting work done. This means you need a system for evaluating the gifts, abilities, talents, and interests of potential volunteers. Yes, that also requires preparation. When you match a volunteer with a suitable position – based on who their characteristics and passions – you have a much greater probability for success.
Recruiting volunteers is also about using ministry roles to disciple people. Recognizing the way a ministry role can shape a volunteer is an important part of placement. Good leaders challenge volunteers to grow by putting them in ministry roles that require them to develop and change – to be stretched. Volunteers should be placed in roles that contribute to their spiritual development and accomplish work for the ministry organization simultaneously.
Volunteers are essential to ministry being done in all churches and ministries. God designed people to serve (see the theological reasons from last week), but they need structured guidance to do it well. Effective leaders know facilitating volunteers is as much about spiritual development as getting work done. They recruit people toward that end and enjoy the other benefits as well.
If you would like more insight on recruiting volunteers, check out my podcast this week.