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Church Volunteer Training: 7 Keys to a Fine-Tuned System

church volunteer training

One of the biggest challenges ministry leaders face is church volunteer training. Whether you oversee children’s ministry, youth ministry or any other program in a congregation, you need to know how to equip, build and keep volunteers.

Not all church leaders are skilled in training and coaching, and busy schedules tend to leave little time for investing in helpers. But church volunteer training doesn’t have to be complicated.

At our church, we’ve settled on a pretty consistent system and continue improving it over time. Use what we’ve learned to establish or upgrade your own training program.

7 keys for creating and maintaining an effective church volunteer training plan:

1. Strong onboarding

The first step for positive church volunteer training is doing the best you can when they begin serving. This includes orientations and vision-casting, learning the environment they’ll serve in and the role they’ll play, and being partnered with a mentor who can coach them early on.

I think we can give people 80% of the training they need during the volunteer onboarding process. Everything else you do to train them after that just helps with the remaining 20% (although none of us ever get 100%).

2. Sustainable rhythm

Once helpers are in place, it’s important to have a rhythm for church volunteer training. That rhythm will differ depending on your context, but the key is figuring out the best rhythm and making sure it’s sustainable.

There probably won’t be one perfect day and time to have the training, except Sunday during worship, and that presents its own challenges. We have found two or three options that work really well. So we choose one based on the existing calendar, the length of the training session, and the format we plan to use.

3. Helpful content

Good volunteers are always hungry for content that will help them make a greater impact in their role. They aren’t, however, open to giving up their time for something that seems like a waste. Helpful content is required for church volunteer training so people want to attend the events.

Andy Stanley and the North Point staff define an irresistible environment as one that has: appealing context, engaging presentation, and helpful content. I agree that an irresistible environment needs all three. But attendees will put up with an average context and presentation if the content is excellent.