The first part of this article focused on six factors that you as leaders need to consider as you enlist, train and retain volunteers in all areas of church service. You were asked to consider their gifts, passion, duties, input, tools and models. Let’s continue by considering six more factors.
- Consider their freedom. One of the things volunteers need is the freedom to choose. Feeling trapped will not lead to long-term involvement or the accomplishment of goals. There may be feelings of avoidance as well as guilt. They may feel they were coerced into their participation in a certain area and feel guilty that they are not more enthused and committed to the task. Because volunteers do not have to do anything, they are free to cancel or postpone their involvement and move on to other things.
- Consider their point of view. Do your volunteers see the big picture of what you are trying to do in your church and its organizations? They like to believe they are making a difference, having an impact. If they are made to feel as if they are just filling a spot or being used, their commitment level will dramatically decrease.
- Consider their recognition. Because they often make sacrifices of time and money, volunteers should be recognized publicly for their contributions to the well-being of your church. Without the average volunteer workforce, no church would be able to provide meal functions, care for children, teach small Bible study groups or have music in worship services! There is a definite connection between appreciation and motivation.
- Consider their enjoyment. The fun factor draws individuals who want to serve but who also want to enjoy doing it! Laughing together and having fellowship is a large part of why volunteers make themselves available to participate. Church leadership may need to create these times of fellowship and fun, but it will be worth the effort as happy volunteers are more willing.
- Consider their relationships. Leaders must ask the question: Are volunteers experiencing a sense of community with other volunteers? A bond is created that can be a lifelong journey. Men and women come together with a common desire to serve God and use their gifts and over a period of time form strong relationships that last long after the tasks are done. Do you approach your volunteers as a business or a family?
- Consider their support. Just as you in leadership desire prayer support from others in your church, volunteers also want and need to be supported by prayer. Pray as you enlist them. Pray for their decisions to serve. Pray that God will bless their efforts and that He will use their gifts. Pray for the volunteers by name.
Enlisting, equipping and retaining volunteers have been topics of concern for many years. In today’s society people are given many opportunities to give of themselves in meaningful ways. It is the responsibility of church leaders to help these persons understand that God’s work relies in great part on their willingness to invest time, energy, and yes, even money in ways that make volunteers essential for the local church’s work. Reaching out into communities demands volunteers. Being a safe haven and a place where people can find hope requires volunteers. Providing help in crisis situations demands the contribution of volunteers.
Motivate your volunteers to come forward and commit themselves to long-term involvement. Consider their gifts, passion, duties, input, tools, models, freedom, point of view, recognition, fun, relationships and support, and you will have more volunteers, more dedication and more results!
For more information, contact Eva De La Rosa, WMU/Women’s Ministries specialist, by phone at 559.229.9533, ext. 256 or by e-mail.