For many church leaders, attracting volunteers has always seemed to create more aggravation than opportunity. They realize that the thought of a church without volunteers is scary. Yet there often seems to be a lack of purposeful strategy in most churches to bridge the gap between those serving and those being served.
As everyone begins to gear up for fall, the challenge of leading volunteers doesn’t have to be a perpetual issue that continues to hamstring your ministry. There are solutions! Based on our experience and observation, there are several primary reasons churches struggle to close the revolving door in their volunteer ministry. Getting after these shortcomings can quickly change your volunteer ministry from a headache to the heartbeat of your church.
Four Reasons You’re Not Attracting Volunteers
- There is a lack of clarity about the purpose of the church.
Clarity is a big deal in the church today. Many churches are operating without a concise understanding of the reason they exist. Some church leaders believe it is their job to attract and keep a growing crowd of people. Meanwhile, the effect of the church within the community isn’t noticed apart from the facility. Does your congregation really know your vision? Can they see tangible impact on a regular basis? If not, they probably won’t have a lot of passion to serve.
- There is a value problem.
Churches attract people who share their values or lean toward sharing their values. When those values aren’t stated and reinforced, people don’t know how their values compare to the church’s. Too often, volunteer experiences are focused on ‘getting things done’ rather than growing more like Christ — which may communicate that the church values tasks more than discipleship.
- There is a shared leadership challenge.
Many church leaders hold their roles too tightly. This affects how they train leaders. Ephesians 4 ministry isn’t about mobilizing more volunteers; it’s about equipping God’s people to do the work of ministry. We often make the mistake of railroading people toward existing volunteer vacancies rather than enabling them to participate in or establish the ministry calling for which they are most gifted and passionate.
- There isn’t a volunteer-friendly environment.
Volunteers naturally encourage others to volunteer. A volunteer-friendly environment makes serving normal and spectating uncomfortable. Unfortunately, many churches are content to collect spectators because they fear challenging them to participate might drive some away from attending. The reality is that just the opposite is true. A fulfilling and fun volunteer environment is contagious!
Avoid Those Obstacles and Create a Thriving Volunteer Ministry
When your church catches the vision for empowering and equipping people for ministry, people will naturally step up to serve. The process of identifying and connecting new volunteers will be the task of everyone in the church, not just the job of a ministry coordinator.
If you’re ready to avoid some of these challenges this fall, grab our free eBook ‘The Challenge of Leading Volunteers’. In it, you’ll find everything you need to overcome these issues, along with practical steps to create the level of volunteer engagement you need to accomplish all of your ministry goals this fall.
What are some of the biggest challenges your church faces when it comes to equipping and empowering volunteers?