According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 34.6 percent of all volunteers across the country served in religious organizations. That’s good news for church leaders who rely on volunteers to carry out their ministries.
But you can’t tap that pool of willing volunteers if you’re scrambling around trying to fill volunteer positions at the last minute with the “bag, snag, and drag” method. You’ll find recruiting church volunteers much easier when you plan ahead:
1. Work backward.
Determine when you need volunteers. Plan your timeline well in advance of your need.
2. Assess your need.
Check current registrations, and past attendance records, to determine how many volunteers you’ll need. Creating a ministry timeline can save you and your volunteers from last-minute stress and panic.
3. Brainstorm sources of new volunteers.
This is the beginning—the place where you find names of those who are interested. There are sources within a church, such as membership classes, but don’t stop your thinking there. Consider external sources where nonmembers are exposed to your church, like open houses or community events like a Fall Fair.
4. Gather a group of leaders to shoulder the work.
In Luke 10, Jesus sent out his disciples two by two. The demands of ministry require teamwork and support, and that includes the hard work of recruiting volunteers.
5. Create a schedule that tracks your team’s tasks.
Make sure that one person regularly keeps the schedule up to date and that each member of the team knows his or her part and deadlines.
7. Plan new volunteer orientation.
It’s important that new volunteers know that they’ll be gently guided into ministry. Create an orientation system that guides people into fulfilling service.
Recruiting church volunteers is not a process where they’re bagged, snagged, and dragged into ministry! Volunteers will be more likely to stick around when you’ve made the process deliberate, methodical, personal, and unhurried. This communicates people-friendliness rather than desperation. It also contributes to personal, relational, and Christ-centered growth through ministry in the church—helping you focus on “equipping people” not bagging, snagging, and dragging volunteers into service.