As people continue to get busier and commitment to the church continues to decrease, it’s become harder and harder to convince people to volunteer at church. This seems to be happening to every church, no matter the size or denomination.
It certainly doesn’t help that the average churchgoer only shows up to church about twice a month now, so it’s becoming harder and harder to get people connected.
I certainly don’t have all the answers. In many cases, I’m just as frustrated as you. The American church culture is changing at a rapid pace, and it’s hard to keep up.
I’m frightened to find out what effect this is going to have on the next generation of Christ-followers, but that’s a post for another day.
Reality is, you and I need volunteers. This is the culture we’re living in, so we have to figure out ways to make it work.
Here are a few ideas.
Teach your current volunteers to recruit new volunteers.
The old school way of guilting people into serving doesn’t work anymore. I’m not sure it ever really did. Announcing you need more volunteers from the stage doesn’t work. Putting needs in the bulletin doesn’t work. But friends inviting friends works. This can take place in the church lobby, outside of the nursery, over the phone, or even through Facebook Messenger. Volunteer recruitment is relational.
Make serving fun and rewarding.
You make it fun by placing people with other people they like to be around. You make it rewarding by sharing stories of lives being changed through the church. It also helps to have some perks. This could be free t-shirts, free breakfast, and free events throughout the year just for volunteers.
Let people discover where they’re gifted.
Some people are going to know, but most are not. Some that think they know are going to be wrong. This is the case for the majority of people who want to be on the worship team. Don’t make an introvert be a greeter. Don’t place me in the toddler room. Make sure people know they can always switch to another area if they’re not enjoying where they’re currently serving.
Don’t be afraid to cut out some things you’re doing.
Most churches are trying to do too much anyway. If your volunteer numbers are thin, maybe the easiest way to fix the problem is to stop some ministries. We’ve done this a few times. We no longer do a mid-week children’s ministry. We didn’t have the volunteers for it. Cutting back on some ministries allows you to free up some volunteers to serve in other areas that you deem more important.
I believe serving is one of the most important things a Christian should do. In my mind, Christ-followers should want to serve at their church. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. So, let’s do our best to create a great environment for those who choose to serve.