For those who have been involved in ministry, chances are they’ve been there — in need of an additional volunteer at the last minute and scrambling to find someone they trust to get the job done.
Or perhaps a congregation has announced a need for volunteers from the pulpit and advertised it in the bulletin, yet the church still has a hard time filling vital positions.
Encouraging people to step forward and serve can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be, according to LifeWay’s Todd Adkins, Daniel Im, and Eric Geiger, hosts of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast.
Recently, Adkins, Im, and Geiger released five episodes specifically related to recruiting church volunteers, providing church leaders with practical advice and answering some of their top questions.
What is recruitment?
“To me, recruiting is inviting people to join a great mission,” said Geiger, LifeWay’s senior vice president and chief business officer. “It’s not just to do a job.”
Focus on church members who aren’t already particularly engaged, he said. Perhaps these members come to church twice a month and are a part of a small group.
“But they haven’t displayed their ownership of the mission of the church by joining some kind of ministry that allows them to serve in the context of their church,” Geiger noted.
Geiger, Adkins, and Im agree the responsibility of recruiting volunteers doesn’t just fall on a church’s pastor; it’s everyone’s job.
And recruiting volunteers isn’t just about filling vacant positions. It’s about encouraging people to grow into spiritual maturity as they serve as an expression of their faith.
“It’s helping that person be who God has created them to be,” said Adkins, director of LifeWay Leadership. “You cannot experience spiritual maturity apart from using your gifts in service to Christ.”
How do you recruit for different types of positions?
While pastors and church leaders should encourage everyone in their congregations to serve, not all volunteer positions are created equal. While some are entry-level, others, such as a coordinator or leader of a ministry area, require more responsibility.
And with different positions comes a need to recruit differently, the hosts of the podcast said. Church leaders shouldn’t merely rely on wide, open calls for all volunteer positions in the bulletin or during the announcement time. Instead, different positions call for different strategies.
Im, director of church multiplication, suggested using the offering time to cast vision for different ministry areas and to invite people into entry-level positions.
“If you need more Sunday school teachers for your kids’ ministry, tell your congregation about the life change that is happening during kids’ ministry and what is happening because of their investment into the church,” Im said.
“And then say, ‘Hey, just like you are financially investing into the lives of these kids, you can invest into their lives by volunteering your time.'”
For positions with more responsibility, Adkins said they should be filled by someone who is already volunteering in that area, following a pipeline of leadership development.
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Source: Baptist Press