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As face-to-face church life and ministry opens up again, many churches are struggling to find volunteers.

Here’s our top nine tips…

01

Clarify the vision, not just the role

Make the need known, but do so as part of the vision of the church.

Example:

‘We need some volunteers to be on the welcome team’ is pretty uninspiring. But, ‘we want to be a welcoming church community that helps people feel that they belong. A really practical way of doing this is by welcoming on a Sunday’, is better.

02

Communicate that church volunteers are more than just volunteers

Serving the mission of the local church is an opportunity to serve God. It’s often as we serve that we build stronger relationships and experience being used by God. Perhaps part of this process is reminding people first and foremost that we serve in response to all that God has done for us.

Example:

It’s in stepping up and being part of the prayer team that you are likely to see your faith grow!

03

Take it slow.

Many will be experiencing a kind of reverse culture shock, as we readjust to life as we knew it. People move at different speeds and re-engagement in church life is a process.

Example:

Not everyone will want to hug and have hands-on prayer. Specify what volunteering involves.

04

Create job profiles

Over the last season we have all changed. As we start meeting again, many of us have reassessed our commitments and priorities. So that people know what volunteering means, create job profiles with time commitments.

Example:

Helping out with a luncheon club for the elderly is not an indefinite commitment. Allow potential volunteers to come and experience before committing for a specified period.

05

Pray intentionally.

Remember that we are in a spiritual battle. Over the last season, many new habits have been formed and people might have other priorities now – some good and some not so good!

Example:

Not everyone will want to hug and have hands-on prayer. Specify what volunteering involves.

06

We are in a new season.

Many of us want to jump back into what we had, but that isn’t possible. Perhaps we need to re-look at what we want to achieve?

Example:

One church has stopped its youth work on a Sunday morning. It’s now encouraging the youth to serve the kids work.

07

Feel the pain.

Perhaps for a season, we need to stop doing some things. Allow people to see how it feels and then see if they can help fill the gap.

Example:

Maybe there is no coffee after church for one week. This could be the way to help people recognise the need to serve!

08

Publicly celebrate those who are serving.

Volunteering behind the scenes can be a thankless task. We don’t serve for recognition but it is affirming when we celebrate the input people make.

Example:

One local church has a volunteer of the month to celebrate the people who help make ministry possible.

09

It’s not all on you.

As a church leader, you can think this is all on your head. If we can’t do everything, then don’t worry. Ultimately it’s God who builds his church. We just need to be obedient to the things he is calling us to do!

Example:

If streaming your church service every week and doing it in person is a challenge and there are no volunteers, then maybe you only stream alternate weeks?