At the ‘Growing To The Next Level’ Learning Community last week there was a panel of great people sharing ideas around the topic of ‘raising up volunteers,’ – a term I am not particularly keen on as a concept in that Jesus did not say ‘Go into all the world and get volunteers’ and there were some great take aways for me here, suggesting a more purposeful way of talking about it.
How do we move people from consumption to kingdom contributors?
Talk about church as a family. Not coming to spectate. “If you feel this is your home, you are a gift from God with a part to play. So jump in! We need you!”
Church has slaves or children. Slaves have tasks, children have responsibility. Talk about it from the Bible. Challenge people to change society not just serve church. Help them see God’s call on their lives.
How do we not lose our kids as they grow older? Those who are plugged in, don’t leave. Observers leave. Ask them – ‘What’s your ministry going to be?” This is part of it. When they come and join, ask ‘What team do you want to be part of?” Show them the list of current opportunities. Intentionality is key.
Equipping Your Team Leaders To Be Great Recruiters
75% of church staff are not great recruiters. We have to help them learn. This happens when we change our perspective – it’s an honour to serve. We are not asking a favour. When you serve, you get community.
Shoulder tapping. ‘What can they bring? What has God designed for them? It’s not a tick list of trying to fill rotas.’
Get up in front of the people and say ‘We need you – to serve and be a part of this.’
People want to serve, but they don’t know how. They might think it looks like it’s all sorted.
Recruiting to the Mission – rather than helping
Senior leaders have to share that church has a vision – and everyone here is called to it. So everyone has a part to play. Address the lie ‘They don’t need me, I don’t have a part to play here.’ Tell the truth on that from the platform:
“We are not going to be able to do what God calls us to unless you play your part.”
Don’t say ‘We need helpers for kids…’ say ‘by the age of 18 most people have made their minds up for Jesus, so…will you help them make the most important.”
Create a culture of developing rather than using people
Have celebrations for the teams, invest the best in them. Get great speakers and have parties for them.
Stop talking about getting volunteers – start talking about raising up and developing leaders. Get people into each other’s lives, pray for them, meet with them, ask how they are doing. Disciple them.
People know if you are for them, love them, value and honour them for their own benefit (or not). This is not a quick win, it’s the long haul. We have to stick with it (and them). Be there for them in and through the hard times. The more people feel part of the team, the less they will feel used.
Culture of friendship and fun
Make fun part of who we are, and it will come out in what we do. Food helps. Think, ‘What can we do to have fun together?’ Be light hearted as well as servant hearted. Smile!
- Remind volunteers of the difference they are making – the missional outcome.
Tell the stories of team members, those who are serving. Have a magazine of people whose lives are changing, by what we are doing. Highlight what the ‘servers’ have done, not the staff. Teach on how to give testimonies – get the leaders dong it. Then the kids leaders, then the kids. Get the kids to share up front. Everyone sees them overcoming by their testimony.
Be the CRO – Chief Reminding Officer of who we are and what we are doing and why. Without that vision, perishing happens. Show it, say it, repeat it. Get the leaders together and celebrate those who have joined teams, talk about leaders development and remind them about the mission. It’s good to hear the vision again!
- Say thank you! What you celebrate, you replicate. Our people are our greatest adverts. So honour them. Have a meal. Speak about people. Get people to nominate a team member of the month. (Ivy legends?) When someone leaves, buy them a gift to say thank you that you have served. Get them birthday cards? So they feel seen, valued, known, honoured. As we grow, we won’t know everybody. When you move, to a new home the doctor or dentist does not come to your door to offer their services. But when people come to church/ new area – they often do that. So don’t wait to be asked specifically. Go and talk to us about how to serve.
My main take away thought from this was about my mindset and attitude on this, and how maybe because of Covid, people being ‘so busy’ etc how much I have shied away from asking people to serve. I make excuses for them before I even invite them – as if assuming the ‘no’. Or we sometimes box it off with “We only need someone for half an hour, once a month, if it’s a full moon…” and need to recover the privilege it is to serve the Servant King together!