Recruit, train, and let your volunteer go, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. But it certainly doesn’t have to be difficult either.
And when it comes to your church’s volunteers, training your volunteers for the task at hand isn't the end goal. Let's discuss the 10 steps we think will help you recruit, train, and lead your volunteers well, while encouraging personal growth in their faith journey.
Establish A Path
You can make as many pleas from stage as possible and get similar responses. Most of the time, those responses are either the people who can't say no and are already doing a lot in your church or no responses at all. It can be exhausting! So, as a church, establish a path. Decide how you are going to help people get plugged into your church community. The vision to find community within your church through personal relationships and serving has to be talked about often. Your volunteers shouldn't be filling an empty spot on your volunteer roster - they should be volunteering to serve God through their gifts and talents.
Have Qualifications and Requirements
Serving is not a replacement for spiritual growth. Instead, it is one step in our faith walk. Consider how your volunteers will experience discipleship and authentic community. We all need to be filled up in order to have anything left to pour out.
Delegate and Replace Yourselves
What are you doing that someone else can do, that's keeping you from doing what only you can do? Great leaders lead by example here. It starts with recognizing someone that can do what you are doing. Invite them to follow you for a time while you share the insights and lessons you've learned along the way. When you think they're ready, let them own it and go!
Develop Communication Paths
As volunteers begin serving in their roles, be sure there is a clear communication path for them to take if they have questions or need to report problems. Be sure that you are listening to them when the bring concerns. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but so often our fast-pace makes it easy to ignore or forget these. Take a moment to either cast vision to these volunteers or learn how you can better your communication as a leader. Either of these opportunities, if taken seriously, can be a huge win for your team, your church, and the people you serve!
Allow and Encourage Your Volunteers to Improve the Ministry
When you allow your volunteers to have a voice, they fill valued. When you empower them to make those changes, they buy-in and commit to your ministry.
Encourage Community Within Your Volunteer Team
Church isn't about showing up - attending or serving - every time the lights are on. The Body of Christ is about relationships and community. It's always great to encourage your volunteers to be a part of a community intentionally seeking authentic relationships, whether that's small groups, Sunday schools, discipleship groups, etc. But that doesn't mean you can't build community among your volunteer teams. This might require you to recruit leaders over each section of volunteers. You care for the leaders, they care for the volunteers. Do whatever it takes! Get to know your volunteers - it doesn't require that much extra time. Set up some communication rhythms that allow you to schedule follow-up conversations and on-going touch points. Remember their spouse's names or their kids' names. Recognize birthdays, volunteer anniversaries or big milestones in one another's lives. Show them that you are just a regular person, too.
Continue Give Volunteers Opportunities to Grow
It's difficult to find time to get everyone to show up for a training, right! Even free food doesn't change the soccer schedule! But having on-going training not only allows you to cascade key communication to your volunteers, but allows you to cast vision for your team and church. Continue to remind your volunteers how important their roles are in changing lives. Give them practical training for their roles.
Just in case there aren’t enough hours in your day (are there ever?), consider leveraging technology to maximize your training efforts to be mindful of your volunteers’ time and schedules. Allowing your volunteers to walk themselves through training at their own pace, on their own time, from the comfort of home could lend itself to a notable increase in the quality and quantity of training you can provide.