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How to Lead and Motivate Volunteers as They Return

3) Consistent communication

Few things will frustrate your volunteers more than inconsistent or non-existent communication.

A common phrase from frustrated volunteers sounds something like, “I never know what’s going on.”

It doesn’t matter if that’s exaggerated; the word “never” speaks to their level of frustration and the reality they experience.

From a church consultant’s view, communication is among the top flaws in most local churches. It’s not an indictment; it’s a simple reality. Good communication can always motivate volunteers.

The church is complex. It exists both in the natural and supernatural realms; it’s led by human beings and can’t function without volunteers, all of whom have opinions. Of course, communication is challenging.

Tips on communication:

It’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate.

Give grace because you’ll never get it perfect; however, don’t allow that to become an excuse.

Keep it accurate and up to date.

Avoid last-minute changes if at all possible.

Keep your communication creative and fresh, but not so clever that you waste time crafting it.

4) Clear and reasonable expectations

Your volunteers want to know what is expected of them, both in their actual ministry in outcomes.

Communicate specific expectations in terms of every volunteer’s ministry responsibilities.

In terms of results, let your volunteer teams know what you are asking God to do through their ministry. Ask them to pray with you for specific outcomes, both in big picture Kingdom advancement and detailed specifics of the particular ministry.

For example, you want a nursery volunteer to know that ultimately, they serve so more people know Jesus, and more specifically, that parents can participate in the worship service to hear God speak through the message.

Even more specifically, that the babies would be safe, fed, changed if needed, comfortable, and cared for. And again, train them how to do that.

5) Genuine care and encouragement

Even the most dedicated and mature volunteers, leaders included, need to know you genuinely care about them.

Volunteers need to be appreciated and encouraged, from your heart to theirs.

Your volunteers appreciate vision, organization, and training, but your care and appreciation is the fuel that keeps them going. Encouragement always motivate volunteers.

Express your care and appreciation by telling them, often. Thank them for serving, send notes, respond quickly when they call or text, help solve their problem or train them to solve it, and stay connected to their personal life as much as is appropriate.

Make ministry fun. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, or the expectations have been dismissed; it’s about choosing joy and keeping a light heart.


This article on how to lead and motivate originally appeared here, and is used by permission.