Why do people refuse to become actively involved in your church? Why do “pewsitters” decide that a life of disengagement is preferable to finding a place to serve?
While the reasons are numerous, it often comes down to these common obstacles you’ll need to overcome:
1. “There isn’t anything I can do.” When your potential volunteers see programs being delivered with excellence, they tend to focus on their own limitations. They see outstanding musicians leading singing, top-notch teachers doing children’s ministry, smiling ushers greeting everyone like long-last friends—it’s daunting.
Obstacle Remover: Communicate to potential volunteers that there’s training for any role they think suits them and that you’ll only place volunteers where they have God-given strengths.
2. “I filled out one of those interest survey sheets and nobody called me.” All too often churches collect information about people and then promptly do….nothing. You don’t want your collection of people’s interests and abilities to become a systematic process of rejection.
Obstacle Remover: Filling out paperwork doesn’t place potential volunteers in fulfilling positions. We do that. Use discovery information as a starting point for ministry connections to take place. Create a system for what happens to the information so people don’t fall through the cracks.
3. “I was so frustrated last time that I’ll never volunteer again.” Many pewsitters have been volunteers in the past. They didn’t quit because they got too busy, or too old, or too anything. People don’t easily quit things they find personally rewarding. They quit because they were in poorly defined roles, or lacked the resources, training, or authority to be successful. The problem wasn’t with the volunteer—it was with the system in which they volunteered.
Obstacle Remover: Having a ministry description in place as well as systems that offer training, support, and evaluation will provide structure that may help volunteers be more successful in their position.
4. “I don’t have time.” We all have the same amount of time in a day, a week, and a year. The issue isn’t a lack of time, but that the volunteer opportunity being presented isn’t important enough to rate a time commitment.
Obstacle Remover: People make time for what they value most. Help your volunteers find their ‘sweet spot’ which matches their motivation and gifting.
[Editor’s Note: Group’s Equipping Institute will present “Why Nobody Wants to Volunteer at Church Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Serving Irresistible” January 28-30, 2015. This new training will help you attract more volunteers to your church!]