How To Create a Thriving Volunteer Culture

How To Create a Thriving Volunteer Culture
March 16, 2017 Bob D'Ambrosio
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If only there was a quick fix to “get more volunteers.” Church leaders continue to ask what they can say or do to convince people to serve. What are the best recruitment methods? How do I get more people to say, yes? Inspiring people for volunteer service requires more than a new sales pitch.  Activating people into the life of the church involves making changes to the foundation—the culture. Culture is the soil that prepares people for service involvement.

In their book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore, Thom and Joani Schultz state the fact that every year 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity—they go underground. And, as you’ve probably already noticed, church attendance is shrinking. While 40% of Americans say they attend church every week, the actual number is more like 20%.

Oddly, while the rate of church activity and volunteering declines, volunteerism overall in our country has held its own.  Volunteering is actually very popular right now. It’s become the standard for corporate America from Chick fil-A to Wal-Mart, from Target to IBM.

David Abney, CEO of United Parcel Service, has announced that their company has pledged 20 million hours of global volunteerism and community service by the end of 2020. He stated, “Volunteerism has always been an integral part of our company culture.”

“Part of our company culture.”

Culture is the key to raising the level of volunteer involvement.  Does your church culture invite people to serve, or does it turn them off?

Group’s Equipping Institute has developed the course, “Creating a Thriving Volunteer Culture.”  It examines what keeps people from engaging in the church, but more importantly, what may help plug them back in.

This training examines:

• The four reasons people give for not wanting to get involved with church
• Barriers which may exclude people from volunteering
• On-ramps for quick service placement
• How to direct a volunteer to an area that matches their gifting
• The value of volunteer training, coaching, and reflection
• When it may be necessary to fire a volunteer, and how to do it
• How to help people experience God through their ministry involvement
• Leadership qualities and behaviors necessary to becoming an agent of change

You can bring this course to your church and train your entire leadership team. We’re now scheduling summer and fall dates for 2017.  Click Here for the details or call 800-267-9040.


Bob D'Ambrosio is a 25-year veteran of church ministry and now serves on Group's training and events team. He's the director of the Equipping Institute, volunteer leadership blogger, and part of Group's content and collaboration team. He coauthored and edited the E4:12 Bible Study Series. Bob and his wife are discovering the joys of empty nest-hood.


  1. Roger Carr 2 years ago

    Culture is certainly one of the keys to healthy volunteer service in churches today.
    It is not a surprise to me that seniors contribute more of their volunteer time to religious organizations than young people. What is troubling is any decline from year to year. It would be interesting to compare church attendance between the same seniors and young people as well.
    Regardless of age, it is important that the church culture encourages and embraces volunteers serving God in a variety of ways. This will keep and grow the number of people who are involved in church. More importantly, it will increase the team and individual activities reaching others for Christ. Thanks for your post.

    • Author
      Bob D'Ambrosio 2 years ago

      Thanks for your note Roger. While church volunteering seems to be in decline, the Corporation for National & Community Service has shown that in the nonprofit world, the increase in volunteers is across all generations. The median annual hours served by the general population is 50 hours a year. Seems that people today want to volunteer and impact their community, they just find other places to do it!

  2. mary 2 years ago

    I believe this is true. But some people make you discouraged..?

    • Author
      Bob D'Ambrosio 2 years ago

      Thanks Mary for sharing. Sometimes you need to have thick skin in ministry to not let the negative people get you down.

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