Volunteers are such an important part of ministry. As leaders, it’s easy to think that we can make it all happen on our own, but that path quickly leads to frustration and burnout.
We need others to be involved in the work of ministry with us to accomplish the God-sized vision that He has placed in our hearts.
For many leading in creative ministry, whether it be in production or communication, you’re often a volunteer or part-time employee yourself. You’re having to balance the demand of following your leaders while also leading your team to fulfill their expectations. And if you’re like I was a few years back, you may not have any experience leading people at all.
So, how do you keep those who are serving under you excited to show up on Sundays? How do you keep their passion to work hard to accomplish tasks alive?
1. Constantly Remind of The “Why”
As volunteers serve week in and week out, it can be easy for them to forget why they started serving in the first place. Make a point to remind them that because of their hard work, people can encounter Jesus in a real way. Share success stories of lives being changed and explain how their tasks help make that happen. A simple team motto works great for this.
2. Make Relationships A Priority
No volunteer likes to feel like they’re just a means to an end. Take time to get to know your team. Encourage them and pray for their needs. Create times where your volunteers can get together during the week and just have fun. The more time you spend with your team outside of church, the more committed they will be in serving on Sundays.
3. Be Consistent And Organized
One of the most frustrating things for dedicated volunteers is when their leader hasn’t done their part. You owe it to your team to lead the way in showing up on time and being prepared. Do the things you say you’ll do and be faithful in important areas like scheduling. Most importantly, make sure your volunteers have everything they need to do their job well.
4. Clearly Define Expectations
Too often, we don’t communicate what it looks like for our volunteers to do a good job. They show up, help where needed, and leave, but aren’t always sure that they’re really making a difference. Having clear job descriptions, schedules, and training make it simple for volunteers to know if they’re succeeding in their position. People want to do a good job for their leader and the Lord, you just have to show them how.
5. Reward Their Hard Work
Nothing will kill the motivation of a volunteer faster than their great work going unnoticed. Why go above and beyond on a task if nobody else cares? As a leader, make a point to compliment your volunteers when you see them doing well. Find ways to reward their dedication publicly and privately. Gift cards, “Volunteer of the Month” awards, and thank you notes all work great for this.
When you take on the task of leading volunteers, you must remember that you’re dealing with people. Every member of your team has a life filled with ups and downs just like you do. If you’ll take the time to apply these principles, you can create a serving experience for them that is rewarding and will truly bring joy to their life. That’s what will keep them coming back every week.
Do you have any other tips for leading volunteers that you’d add?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!