Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Churches have many moving parts. There is the main event – the weekend services which involves many functions to ensure it runs smoothly.
The weekend service requires a whole host of interactions with members and visitors.
These interactions are things like greeting visitors, ushering members to their seats, helping to manage the children in kids’ church, musicians that lead worship, and the countless other things that go on behind the scenes.
Most churches rely heavily on volunteer labor because they don’t have the resources to pay staff for all of the work that needs to be done.
Churches need to have systems and processes in place to oversee and manage volunteers to ensure two things:
1. A great worker experience.
Volunteers do this work because they are committed to the mission of the church and because it fulfills their desire to serve others.
You want volunteers to have a great experience so that they can look forward to serving. And, volunteers who enjoy their roles can become your most influential recruiters for new volunteers.
These happy, committed volunteers will reach out to friends and encourage them to use their skills to help the ministry.
2. To make certain that volunteer
jobs are performed correctly.
Churches care about how well they minister to members and visitors, and consistency in practice is how that is done.
Training is crucial to the consistency and quality of the service that is provided.
Churches that take the time to train volunteers have the confidence that the jobs that are performed, are done with the excellence and love that your church wants to project.
A well-run volunteer program creates the infrastructure to support the management and oversight of church volunteers – which results in a great worker experience.
5 Tips For Managing Ministry Volunteers
1. Communicate Clear Expectations
Volunteers donate their time and want to use that time efficiently.
Use this tool to communicate what volunteers are expected to do and help volunteers successfully perform job duties.
For example, a volunteer in the nursery needs to know where to find supplies needed to change diapers, sanitize work areas, and appropriate ways to communicate with anxious parents.
All of this information should be listed in a job description.
Good communication on the front end can eliminate unnecessary issues on the back end. This is why communication is so important!
2. Provide Tools and Training to Perform Job Tasks
Volunteers who have a positive experience will enjoy their assigned job and will be excited about helping.
Develop detailed training for job assignments so that volunteers understand exactly what the expectations are for performing their job duties.
For example, a new volunteer in the children’s ministry will need to be trained on the proper approach to dealing with child behavior issues.
Kids will be kids, and sometimes they cross the lines of appropriate behavior. Volunteers need to understand how the ministry approaches correcting those behaviors.
This means communicating clearly what is and what isn’t an acceptable discipline for an unruly child.
This type of communication and training helps the volunteer understand how to respond to issues they will deal with while in their volunteer role.
3. Recognize Volunteer Contributions
Volunteers are the labor force of a ministry. They do the work of the ministry and most churches would not exist without this labor of love.
Similar to employees, volunteers should be recognized and rewarded for good performance.
Volunteer recognition can be something as simple as a handwritten thank you note, or as complex as an awards ceremony at an annual volunteer appreciation event.
Regardless, take the time to think about what volunteers contribute, and recognize them for their efforts.
For example, if volunteers are working long hours to cover areas that are experiencing a shortage of workers, take some time to let the volunteers know that their hard work did not go unnoticed.
This recognition will help to reinforce the value they bring and the appreciation your church has for their tireless efforts.
4. Give Volunteers A Voice
Faithful church volunteers are the ones who do the work. They complete job assignments and duties as instructed.
These committed workers are on the front line and experience firsthand the internal processes that are working well.
But they also experience those processes that might need to be tweaked and improved.
For instance, let’s say your church is hosting a vacation bible school this year. You will need to recruit many volunteers to help manage the children.
You might consider soliciting feedback from the volunteers after this summer event and try to learn from their experience. This feedback may provide you with valuable information on how to improve your VBS next year.
5. Celebrate Successes
Anyone who has been involved in a church event understands that it takes a lot of work to pull it off successfully.
Celebrating a successful event is a great way to acknowledge all of the hard work that went into it.
For example, I’ve seen churches spend months building campus Christmas displays that require hours of labor.
Take some time after a major event, and celebrate the successes to reinforce the invaluable contributions volunteers make.
Churches Rely On Volunteers
Most churches could not function without countless hours of volunteer labor.
Don’t take volunteers for granted. Take the time to develop a volunteer program, which facilitates the process of managing volunteers effectively.
This effort will help to ensure this valuable group of people enjoy a great volunteer experience while showing the love of Jesus to those they interact with.
Do you need help with volunteer job descriptions? Check out our library of forms and job descriptions to help give you a jump start on your efforts.