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Help! We Need More Volunteers

When a staff member is in need of volunteers, he or she oftentimes will make the need known. The particular staff member in need of more workers is given time in the worship service to announce the roles that need to be filled. They then tell anyone who is interested to go to a kiosk in the church lobby to sign up. In most instances, at the end of the weekend, there are still many gaps in their list of responsibilities.

The problem: Begging people to fill a need isn’t the most effective way to recruit volunteers.

The most effective way to recruit long-term volunteers is to declare the vision for the ministry, have the senior pastor share that vision with the church during the weekend worship service, then have a location where possible volunteers can sign up immediately.

Point #1…There’s a big difference between telling people a ministry NEEDS HELP and casting vision for a particular ministry.

While I was serving as the senior pastor at a particular church, we were in need of people to work with children. The vision of the children’s pastor was to see every child come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ before they left the ministry in the sixth grade. On multiple occasions, she had sought out people to join the ministry, telling them of the roles she needed filled. Not much help came her way using this method.

One day a co-elder approached me and told me I needed to speak to the congregation and verbalize the children’s pastor’s vision for the ministry and ask anyone who was passionate about seeing that accomplished in the lives of the children of our church to go sign up for a position at the kiosk in the church lobby. I did just that, and many people were added to her team that day.

You see, asking people to meet a need or simply fill a gap makes it sound as though the ministry is failing and there’s some reason people don’t want to join the team.

But asking people to work in tandem with God and others passionate about seeing a compelling vision become a reality is not only inspiring, it draws those out who are Kingdom-minded and who share the same passion.

Point #2…The senior pastor should make the vision known, not the staff member.

For some reason I cannot put my finger on, God gives a senior pastor clout that no other person in the church will ever attain. When the senior pastor speaks, unless the senior pastor is at odds with the congregation, church members listen intently and respond appropriately.

Staff member: When recruiting volunteers, share with your senior pastor what the vision of your ministry is, and then ask the senior pastor to share that vision with the congregation. Have him ask the church to join you in accomplishing it, then be certain you have a kiosk where people can go immediately when the worship service ends and sign up to be on your team.  

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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.