If you’re a tech, production, or creative leader in the Church, no matter your location or how large your congregation is, you know that how challenging it can be to find volunteers.
Many of you are serving on a volunteer basis yourself and have a hard enough time keeping up with all of your responsibilities to make a Sunday service happen. Finding and leading people often feels like a luxury that you don’t have the time or means to explore.
In the 17 years that I’ve served and led in creative and tech ministry just like you, I have run into these same issues. Big ideas and vision for greater things tend to come easy, but you quickly realize that you’ll never be able to accomplish them alone. Truthfully, it can even be difficult to pull off normal weekly services if you don’t have the right people in place.
Creative ministry is best done in numbers. Don’t try to pull it off alone.
If you’re ready to get serious about finding new people to serve on your creative team, I have four things that you need to keep in mind to succeed. As you’re already aware, recruiting volunteers does not come easy. However, with these tips, you can be effective and you may even wonder why you didn’t start sooner. They have worked well for me over the years and now I’m excited to see them work for your church.
1. Take A Genuine Interest In People
I know how busy your Sunday mornings can be, but if you’re going to find new people to join your team, you’re going to need to spend time outside of your tech booth connecting with people.
Prepare for the service earlier in the week so that your Sundays are spent less on work and more on building relationships. Of course, this can be done at other times throughout the week, but this is your number one opportunity. It’s the right place, the right time, the right audience, and they’re in the right frame of mind. Step out of your comfort zone and get to know people. Smile and greet them in the lobby. Take note of their name and be sure to use it in your next interaction with them. Approach people with the goal of gaining a genuine interest in them. Be a good listener and encourage them to talk about themselves. If you will take the time to get to know a person and show them that they’re important to you in a sincere way, you will create a bridge for them to join you on your team.
Pro Tip: As you meet new people, don’t just do it from a place of trying to get something out of them. Be sincere. As you build relationships, the volunteers will come. Getting to know the people in your church is a healthy practice for all church techs. It pulls you from behind the scenes and gets you interacting with your faith community as God intended.
2. Invite Them To Something Great
Speaking as a church creative and tech myself, we often like to take the position of a martyr.
“I do all of this work by myself.”
“I have to be at the church for longer hours than anyone.”
“I can’t tell you the last time that I had a Sunday off.”
This is exactly the kind of talk that will scare away anyone who might be interested in volunteering. Instead, make a point to talk about the good parts of this ministry. After all, this is something you love, right? Talk about how fun it can be to run the gear. Communicate how meaningful it feels to create an atmosphere for worship. Share how you were able to accomplish something awesome that you just learned. This sounds more like something a recruit would want to be a part of.
Remember that people naturally will only be a part of something if it is of benefit to them. That’s why you must invite them to something that adds value to their life. Talk about this as an opportunity to do something great, not as an invitation to come suffer with you. I’d be willing to bet if you talk about how much you love serving in production or creative ministry enough to people, they will be the ones asking to get involved.
3. Take On The Role of Coach
Have you ever had a great coach? How about a teacher than made a big impact on your life? Years later, I can still point out the leaders in my life that pushed me to be better or helped me to accomplish something that I never thought I could. What amazes me about them is that they didn’t have anything to gain by me winning. They simply got their pride and satisfaction out of seeing me succeed. This is this role that we must assume as we recruit volunteers. We must focus less on the task that’s at hand and take more of an interest in helping people use their abilities to serve God. This is what takes you from a leader of equipment to a leader of a team.
As you get people involved, make appreciation your go-to language. Be quick to point out the things they do right, no matter how small. Praise how they are using their gifts to serve their Creator and point others to Christ. Remind them of how important what they’re doing is. Make it easy to succeed and difficult to fail. Even when they do fail, be hearty with encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct. If you invite a new person to try out serving with you and you work with them with this approach, you are much more likely to keep them coming back.
4. Do For One What You Can’t Do For All
At this point, you may be thinking that this all seems impossible. Surely this would take forever to pull off. You already are being stretched thin and there is no way that you can spend time doing this for everybody. Honestly, you’re right. You cannot spend all of your time doing this for everyone. But, I would encourage you to make time to do this for just one person. Do for one person what you wish you could do for everyone. You may want to get to know all of the people in your church lobby, but if you only have time to meet one, start there. You may want to share your love of this ministry with everyone, but it would be better to concentrate your effort to one genuine conversation. You make want to bring on a team of 10 new volunteers, but you will likely fail at leading a group if you can’t lead one well.
As you’re recruiting, it’s best to start small and give it all you’ve got. You may not be able to grab coffee with ten people during the week, but making time for one afternoon chat is an improvement. You may not be able to take on sending multiple encouraging text messages during the week, but try adding one to your schedule. You might not have time to teach many people how to use the church’s tech gear, but surely you can do it for one person. Wherever you are on your journey, try being intentional in this season one person at a time. Before long, I believe that you’ll be able to look back and see that you’ve made an impact on many lives.
What Do You Think?
Have you struggled to get new volunteers to serve at your church? Have you tried any of these steps? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!