Here is what we know to be true. If you have the right volunteers showing up to work with kids and teenagers every week, they will…
Keep you relevant
Keep you motivated
Keep you focused
Keep you growing
I’m not just talking about your numbers growing. I’m not even just talking about the spiritual growth that happens in kids and teenagers. I’m talking about the spiritual growth that happens throughout your entire church, because if you get this right it will change everything and it starts with making two lists.
The first list I would like for you to make is, who do you want to retain as volunteers?
In other words, there is a sense in which you have volunteers in your ministry right now who you hope you will keep.
The second list is the people you want to recruit.
There is a relationship between these two lists because here is the secret:
If you create a culture that is retaining leaders, you are going to do a better job of recruiting leaders. and, if you recruit the right kind of leaders, you will do a better job of retaining them.
Because of this relationship, there are two real tensions that will exist in your life as a leader of your ministry.
How do we get new volunteers?
How are we going to retain the people who are our best volunteers?
So, make a list. List your top three to five volunteers. Even if you have a hundred volunteers, just think about your best ones, because these are the models.
These are not just the leaders you want to retain because they have some of the best practices, but as you think about who they are, it’s going to help you recruit your next layer of volunteers. Because when you think of this short list, it will open up some doors because chances are, these volunteers are connected to other potential volunteers like them.
So what does it look like in the context of your list of volunteers to just ask,
“Who are some people who are volunteering right now that I hope will never leave?”
Then make a second list.
Who are the people you want to recruit?
Let’s say it another way. Where do you find the volunteers you need for your ministry when it comes to the future? And as you look ahead, how are you going to have a process of finding the best talent you can possibly find? Because what you do is the most important work on the planet, so the best talent in your church can show up and help you do ministry.
So where do you find them?
There are four places you should look for volunteers.
First, go to staff, the people doing ministry around you beside or above you, to ask for names. Then when you go to recruit the people they name, you can tell them who recommended them.
Secondly, go to your best volunteers. This could be an ongoing process. What would it look like for you to ask your volunteers several times a year who is in their network that would be great volunteers?
Then ask your potential volunteers. When you try to recruit them, especially when they say no, you can ask them if they know friends who could be volunteers.
Finally, ask your friends. What would it look like to ask the people in your personal network that you do life with to show up and help in your ministry?
These four areas to look for volunteers are important because sometimes our default method of finding volunteers is to go to a pastor and ask them to make an announcement from the Sunday morning platform. And here’s the problem, that rarely works and a public announcement will probably not get you the volunteers you want to retain.
So as you start recruiting volunteers for next fall, think through these lists of your top five volunteers because they are not just lists, right?
They are human beings that you can learn from by connecting with them more and asking them for feedback. By doing so, you will be better at doing ministry and recruit and retain higher quality volunteers.
And this is so important because the quality of your volunteers will determine the health of not just your ministry, but your entire church, and what you do is one of the most important things on the planet.