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8 Proven Ways You Can Grow Your Volunteer Team in 2020

I know what your biggest ministry need is for 2020.


No matter what size your ministry is...you need more volunteers.

The largest church in the country needs more volunteers.

The mega church down the street needs more volunteers.

The neighborhood church needs more volunteers.

The church plant that meets in a school needs more volunteers.

The city church and the country church both need more volunteers.

The multi-site church needs more volunteers at their locations.

And here's the deal...the greatest need is the greatest challenge.

But you can meet the challenge and build your volunteer team to a new level in 2020.

I'm going to share with you 8 proven ways to build your volunteer team. These are the same 8 steps I took to build a team of 2,600 volunteers in a local church. These steps will work in any size church.

So...let's get started.

See the big picture. If we are honest, we usually see volunteers first and foremost as someone who can help us build the ministry. The bigger picture is this. When you enlist someone to serve, you are giving them an opportunity to grow their faith.

There is something about serving that propels you to a new level spiritually. When you begin to understand this, it will free you up from feeling like you are bothering someone when you ask them to serve. When in reality, you are giving them a tremendous opportunity to be like Jesus.

Instead of using people to build the ministry, use the ministry to build people.

1-on-1 asks. The most effective way to build your volunteer team is 1-1 personal asks. I didn't build a volunteer team of 2,600 overnight. It took years. Years of personally asking people to serve one at a time. We personally asked people week after week. After doing this for years, one day we looked up and there were 2,600 of those ones.

How many volunteers do you need for 2020? 5? 50? 500? Make a list of all the volunteers you need. Then begin asking people one at a time to serve in those roles. Eat, breathe and sleep personally asking people to join your volunteer team.


Hot Spots. There are hot spots that are great places to meet potential volunteers. Get out of the kids' area and go meet people who are potential volunteers for your ministry.

Where are the volunteer hot spots in your church? A new member's class? A group of senior adults? In the student ministry? A guest reception after the service?

1 time = full time. There are times in the life of your church when you have big events or special Sundays. And church-wide you ask for volunteers. This is a great time to enlist new volunteers to serve one time at the big event or special Sunday.

Once the big day or special event is over, go back and invite those people to join your team on a regular basis. I have seen up to 85% of people say "yes" to joining the team full-time by doing this.

Cast vision. People don't respond to desperation. They respond to vision. No one wants to get on a sinking sheep. So when you invite people to serve, show them the difference they can make by serving. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. Serving in children's ministry gives them an opportunity to make an impact with their life.

Start with the why. Instead of inviting people to the what, start by inviting them to the why. The why is your vision...your mission...it's why you do what you do.

People won't line up to change a diaper...but they will line up to change a life.

Instead of "inviting someone to lead a 3rd grade boys' small group," invite them first to "influencing the next generation to follow Jesus."

The what will come later, but first start with the why.

Set high expectations. When you invite people to serve, let them know serving is one of the most important things a person can do to live out their faith. It is not something to be flippant about. Rather it deserves your very best effort. Set the bar high. The importance you place on volunteering will help volunteers see how important it is to serve.

Create more serving opportunities. Sit down and make a list of every volunteer role you currently have open. Expand the list by adding all the roles you want if you had an unlimited number of volunteers.

Now take that list and begin filling in the roles one person at a time. With hard work, you can fill it up with volunteers.

And of course, pray, pray, pray for God to send volunteers. He told us in Matthew 9:38 to pray for volunteers. He wouldn't ask you to pray for something that He wasn't going to give you.

Follow this strategy and you will be able to build a great volunteer team in 2020.

If you haven't read my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams" it's a must read for anyone who works with volunteers. In this book, I share how to enlist, equip, engage, encourage and empower your volunteers.

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