VOLUNTEER STRENGTH=CHURCH GROWTH
Unfortunately, many Pastors and ministry leaders are in a “do it myself so it is done right” mentality and what they don’t understand is that mentality is actually suppressing the growth in their churches.
The church is not and cannot be a one-man show.
The reality is that many leaders in the Church believe that churches grow because they have great preaching and great worship, and those things are important, but they are just pieces of a much larger puzzle that makes the Church. A charismatic leader that is the face of their organization may experience growth for a period of time, but it is not sustainable growth. Paul said it best when he said “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part!” in 1 Corinthians 12:18-19. Churches are strange when they are not functioning as a collective effort, but an individual one. As leaders, this is a MUST to understand and we need to make it a 2017 priority to build and develop our volunteers!
So let’s discuss 3 reasons “WHY” volunteers are so important and then we will jump into 3 ways “HOW” to develop our volunteers.
1. Every Believer is called to full-time ministry!
Yep, you heard me right! EVERY believer is called to full-time ministry. The Bible never instructs us to be part-time disciples, part-time Christians, and people who only follow part of Jesus’ commands. Jesus actually tells us it is all or nothing and in that, He called us all to minister to this world. Now not every member is called to vocational ministry, but we are all called to minister. As Pastors, we need to understand our role and the role of our church members which Paul outlines in Ephesians 4:12 “Their (Church Leaders) responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”. Our role is to equip our people to do ministry and if that is the case then we must create opportunities for our people to walk in their gifts.
2. Everyone has greatness in them!
God created everyone with a specific gift, a specific assignment, and EVERYONE is the workmanship of God’s creation. As leaders, we need to help people discover this and understand this about themselves. Many people in your church want to be involved, but they don’t think they have anything to offer. Inspire the greatness inside of them and watch your Church go to the next level.
3. It is all about the details!
People make a 1st impression within 10 minutes or less of visiting your Church. That means that they have already made up their minds whether they like or dislike your Church before the music starts or the preaching begins. Negative 1st impressions are the hardest things to overcome and change yet it is one of the most overlooked understandings by Pastors. People make an impression based on how they were greeted outside, how they felt checking in their kids, how helpful people were instructing them on where to go, how clean the facilities are, how the felt sitting in the worship center, etc…. Do you see that they make their 1st impression based on the interactions with your volunteers NOT your staff?
1. You must have an easy assimilation process.
We use a membership class system at our church, but our membership is not for political reasons as it is a way to express in detail the vision and structure of our church. We want people to understand the heart behind the church they are apart of and why they are serving. However, membership classes are not for every church, but you need to find some system to assimilate people that are interested in serving because you cannot physically go up and ask every single individual personally to start serving. Once you have figured out your process you must have everything point to that process from your 1st-time visitor letters, worship guides, announcements, social media posts, to the first question your staff and leaders ask people.
In our assimilation process, we have everyone take a personality test and a spiritual gifts test as we have correlated their spiritual gifts with specific areas in our church they can serve in that matches their gifts and interests. It is important to place people where they fit not just placing people to plug holes.
2. You must train and equip your volunteers.
You need a very detailed training process for each volunteer that makes them feel confident in their abilities to run with something by themselves. There needs to be extensive training, a time of job shadowing, a time where they lead while a trainer is present, and then they lead on their own. It is our job to lower their stress and build their confidence and this happens in training.
We must also make sure we equip them to serve at their best every single week. Most volunteers quit because of a lack of organization and a feeling that things are done with a lack of excellence. Give them time to rehearse and be prepared and make sure they have all the resources and materials they need to do their jobs at a high level.
3. You must celebrate your volunteers.
This may seem like a no brainer, but I see too many pastors getting in manager mode as they just fill schedule blocks with bodies. As leaders, we must remember we are in the people business NOT the Sunday service business. It is easy to get caught up in the pressure of pulling off a Sunday experience every single week and forget the very people that make it happen every single week.
So let’s make our people feel so incredibly special! I tell our staff I want us to honor our people so much that they can’t experience that anywhere else. That they leave every Sunday and every event with a huge smile on their face and joy in their heart. We love to honor our people in so many ways like making sure we have snacks set out for everyone on a Sunday, sending out thank you cards, honoring a volunteer of the week online, caring enough to ask about how they are doing in their personal lives, celebrating the wins on a Sunday, constantly telling people to thank you and complementing them, hosting a volunteers banquet, and the list goes on and on. Make it a point to make honor such a priority and watch the morale of your people skyrocket. Morale boosts momentum and momentum boosts growth!
Our church at Bloom is not my church it is every member’s church and I am so blessed that I get to do life with every person that calls Bloom home. I am so honored to see every sacrifice that our members make for the Kingdom of God and they make our church greater as they walk in their God-given gifts!
What is your biggest challenge with volunteers?