Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Volunteers are the labor engine of a church. Without this faithful free labor force, most churches would not exist.
Effective volunteer management involves good communication and coordination of job duties.
Why Are Job Descriptions Important?
Volunteers show up to help with the intention of doing a good job. Their commitment and effectiveness are dependent on the manner in which they are managed.
Similar to employees, it is important for volunteers to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and be given the training and tools to perform job tasks.
A well-run volunteer program will include a streamlined process to recruit, place, and train volunteers in a role that best matches their personality, interests, and skill-set.
For instance, a volunteer recruitment process should recognize those volunteers with people skills and place those in positions dealing with the public.
There are many things that volunteers who don’t have great people skills can do. These folks are usually great behind the scenes making sure things are organized and efficient. These are what I call paper-skills.
This program should also recognize that those with paper-skills are better suited behind the scenes. Put people-people with people, and paper-people behind the scenes.
Bottom line, you don’t want someone who does not have great people skills teaching in a room full of kids!
What Is The Purpose Of A Volunteer Job Description?
Volunteer job descriptions articulate details of the role, expectations, and job tasks.
A volunteer job description should be detailed enough to describe job tasks, job hours, and who to go to with questions.
For instance, a volunteer in the Children’s Ministry should know who they report to and who to go to if they have questions or need access to supplies.
Job Descriptions Should Answer These 5 Questions
When writing a church volunteer job description, it is important to answer the following questions – who, what, where, when, and how.
Simply consider the job tasks that need to be performed, and ask these questions to determine the needed detail for the job description.
- Who does the volunteer report to? For example, who oversees ushers and who does the volunteer report to when scheduled to work?
- What tasks are the volunteer responsible for performing? For example, what does the usher do when he/she is on duty?
- Where does the job get performed? For example, where do ushers meet before, during, and after church services and where do they hang their coats or purses while on duty.
- When is the shift the volunteer will be working? For example, when is the usher scheduled to work as part of the volunteer job schedule.
- How does the volunteer perform job responsibilities? For example, how does an usher dress, how do they communicate with guests, how do they take the offering, etc.
Ok, let’s now create an example of a church volunteer job description using the template below:
Example Church Volunteer Job Description
Volunteer Job Title: Usher
Reports to: Elder Smith (WHO)
Scheduled Shift: Sunday 7 am – 11:30 am (WHEN)
Job Location: Volunteer Room behind west hallway (WHERE)
Job Duties: (WHAT)
- Straighten chairs in the auditorium;
- Fill chair pockets with offering envelopes;
- Stack offering baskets;
- Place bulletins in bins by all doors;
- Usher guests to seats;
- Assist people with special needs, ie; wheelchair, stroller, etc.;
- Collect offering;
- Empty offering baskets, sort and put in safe;
Details of Job: (HOW)
- Ushers meet in the marked volunteer room behind the west hallway.
- Lockers and coat racks are available for personal items.
- Usher supplies, offering baskets, envelopes, umbrellas, first aid kits, etc. are located in the marked closet on the north side of the volunteer room.
- Ushers are asked to wear suits for men and appropriate business attire for women.
- Volunteers should report for their shift at least 15 minutes before a scheduled shift.
- Ushers are expected to represent the church in a positive way and demonstrate good customer service skills by being polite, patient, encouraging, and engaging with the congregation and visitors.
- If an usher has a problem with a visitor or congregant, they should contact Elder Smith for assistance.
How Do I Create A Job Description?
It is less complicated than you might think to create a job description.
Gather a few folks who understand what needs to be done, sit in a room with a laptop and just go down the list and answer the questions: who, what, where, when, and how.
For instance, let’s say you are creating a job description for managing the church’s social media.
Organize a meeting with those who would have input on that role. Folks like the Communications Manager, Business Administrator, Production Manager, Graphic Designer, and Video Editor.
These positions would most likely have a vested interest in the role of someone helping with social media.
Use this group of stakeholders and go through each of the 5 questions: who, what, where, when, and how. Their input will help ensure that all of the questions are answered and that each of their areas are included in the final list of tasks.
You will be surprised at how quickly you can create volunteer role descriptions.
Lastly, church volunteers are free labor and a valuable asset.
Take the time to develop systems and processes to support them.
Investing some time thinking through and creating detailed job descriptions is one way to show your volunteers support and appreciation.
If you are an SCM member you can access login here to access many common volunteer job descriptions. If you are not a member but would like to see what is included in our growing library, you can learn more here.
If you would like more information on managing the volunteers in your church, please check out our book on volunteer management: A Volunteer Coordinator’s Handbook for Engaging, Motivating and Developing Volunteers