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The Big Key to Keeping Volunteers Long-Term

It's been a rough year when it comes to volunteers.  As I talk with churches across the country, a common trend is happening. 

Due to the virus, everyone has had volunteers step away from serving.  Either temporarily or permanently.

Many volunteers, especially older volunteers, say they won't come back until there is a proven vaccine. 


I understand where they are coming from.  And we want our volunteers to be safe and healthy.  If we didn't, then we would appear to only be using them to build the ministry rather than using the ministry to build them.

Wherever you find your volunteer team in the midst of these crazy days, I want to share with you the big key to keeping your volunteers long-term.  

It's found in one word.  Ready for it?  Here it is - 



I believe the biggest, numero uno way to keep your volunteers serving for the long haul is found in the relationships they build with the people they are serving with.


Does that mean some will step away no matter how many relationships they have in children's ministry? Yes. Some will step away, but if they have built relationships with those they serve with, it will make it much harder to step away from serving. 

"The relationships people form while serving in children's ministry is the super glue that will keep them serving.  The depth of those relationships will be in direct correlation with how long they serve."

While relationships often form organically, there are some steps you can take to help the process.  Let's look at these steps.


Create an environment that helps volunteers grow in their faith.  Move volunteers into small groups where they can learn, share, do life together and be prayed for on a regular basis.  Take the initiative and help form these small groups for the volunteers who serve in your ministry.

Create a ministry that is fun to serve in. Make serving in your ministry fun.  Laugh together.  Celebrate together. Do activities together. Eat together.  Don't take yourselves so seriously.  Let the joy of the Lord fill the hearts of your team. The team that plays together stays together. 

Create a feeling of family.  Make sure each team member feels loved and appreciated.  Tell them weekly how much you appreciate their heart for the next generation.  Do life together.  Pray for each other.  Love each other.  Spend time together.  Celebrate family milestones such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries and graduations.

Build in ice breakers when you meet.  When you have volunteer training or other special meetings with your team, start off with an icebreaker.  This can immediately take their relationship deeper.

Put volunteers with other volunteers who have the same passion for a specific ministry area. Place people who love babies in the same room.  Place people who love pre-teens together. Place people who love to be greeters together.  You get the point. When you are around other people who love and are committed to the same thing as you are, it creates a special bond.


Do these things and you will lessen your volunteer turn around.  

Your turn.  What are some other things you do to keep volunteers involved for the long haul? Share in the comment section below.


You can get lots of other ideas and insight from my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  This book shares lots of proven information that will help you keep your volunteers long-term.  It's available at this link.


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