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10 Steps for Building a Great Volunteer Team

How is your volunteer team doing? Due to covid, I know most churches have struggled with having enough volunteers. Let me encourage you today. You can rebuild your volunteer team and make it even stronger than it was pre-covid.

Here are 10 steps you can take to build a great volunteer team. I have seen these steps work time and time again. In one of the churches where I served, in 9 years we grew our volunteer team from 300 to 2,400. Yes, you read that correctly. It can be done.

Here are the 10 steps.

Start asking people to serve by using vision instead of need. People are drawn to a compelling vision. Invite people first to the "why" instead of the "what."

Don't appear desperate, even when you are. No one wants to get on the Titanic. People won't line up to change a diaper...but they will line up to change a life. Show them how they can be used by God to change people's lives through serving in children's ministry.

Personal asks. The best way to build a team is one person at a time. One ask at a time. Don't complain about not having enough volunteers if you are not asking people to volunteer. I mentioned that I built a volunteer team of 2,400. How did I do it? One person at a time. One ask at a time. Week in and week out, I and my team asked people to serve. We looked up after 9 years and we had built a strong volunteer team by asking one person at a time to join our team.

Sounds like it took hard work week in and week out. Yes, it did. There are no shortcuts to building a great volunteer team.

Events. Enlist people to serve one-time at a big event like fall festival, VBS, camp, Easter, etc. After the event, go back and ask the people who served at the event to join your team full-time.

Make your dream list. If you could have all the volunteers you ever wanted, what would that list look like? Make the list. Then ask God to start filling the roles.

Pray. Jesus told us to ask the Lord of the Harvest for laborers. You have not because you ask not. Put "more volunteers" on your daily prayer list.

Shift your perspective. Do you feel like you are "bothering" people when you ask them to serve? The reason you feel that way is because you are focusing on what you want "from" them. Shift your perspective and start thinking about what you want "for" them. You are not a bother when you ask someone to serve. You are a blessing to them. Serving helps people grow in their faith. Serving helps people to experience the joy of giving. Serving helps people be more like Jesus.

Hot spots. Where are some good places or events at your church to meet potential volunteers? Guest reception? New members' class? Adult Bible study? Student ministry? Ministry fair? Get out of the children's ministry area and into these hot spots on a regular basis.

Student ministry. Students can make a major difference on your volunteer team. Partner with the student ministry and enlist them to serve. We know studies show that students who serve are more likely to continue to follow Jesus into their adult years. Kids look up to teenagers and they have the opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of the kids.

Enlist kids and parents to serve together. Need more greeters. Ask a parent and their child if they can serve together in this role. Need someone to operate a sound booth? Ask a child and their parent if they can serve together in this role. Need a preschool teacher? Ask a child and their parent if they can serve together in this role.

Ask your current volunteers to enlist people they know. Your volunteers know people you don't know who could serve. Your volunteers have relationships with people that would make great volunteers. Encourage them to invite their connections to join them in serving.

Be encouraged. You can build a great volunteer team. Implement these 10 steps and you will see your volunteer team grow. You can get more great ideas for building a volunteer team in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams." It has been called the best book ever written on the subject. It is available at this link.


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