Since the beginning, YOUR CHURCH has relied on ministry leaders to individually recruit, train, deploy, and recognize volunteers serving in their ministry areas. Much of this recruiting has been done face-to-face through Leadership Evangelism and the relationships that have developed as a result.
Corporately, volunteer recruiting has been accomplished via the “big event need” (Kids’ Camp, Stretch, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter, Christmas Eve, etc.). Other than children’s ministry (Kids Sing), stage “pushes” have been sporadic and mostly done in preparation for a big event. And, we’ve done a couple of messages on serving as a church over the years.
To this point in time YOUR CHURCH’s “method” of recruiting, volunteers has worked well, resulting in most of the church’s needs being met and growing the number of volunteers to the current 500+ level. Consequently, the plan going forward does not include changing anything the church is currently doing.
A very important part of the church’s overall growth strategy is increasing the “rate of connection” to the church. This is primarily done by getting involved in serving or joining and becoming part of a group.
The purpose of this strategy is to focus on the serving side of things, leveraging a point leader functioning as the “Volunteer Coordinator” (Operations Pastor). The plan is to formalize what the church has done well in the past and to add some key infrastructure and activity to increase the volunteer growth rate.
The following volunteer growth objectives have been identified. Each objective is listed in order of overall impact and importance, including proposed timing for completion. These objectives will be regularly evaluated and updated as part of this overall Volunteer Growth Strategy.
- Serving Series – Work with the Teaching and Service Design Teams to establish an annual “serving the church” teaching series (or at least a stand-alone message) that includes a volunteer signup (Response Cards in the Program, Mobile App electronic form sign-ups, etc.), similar to the “90-day tithing challenge” that’s part of the annual stewardship teaching series. Produce testimonial videos, present specific volunteer needs, promote Volunteer Central (outlined next), etc. Maybe follow the messages that day with an after 3rd service “Ministry Fair.”
- Volunteer Central – Create a place in the main lobby on Sunday mornings that will be the central point for the promotion of serving opportunities as well as supporting existing volunteers. Volunteer Central will have volunteer promotional videos looping, volunteer brochures, sign-up cards, special/specific needs, “First Serve” opportunities, iPad check-in stations, lanyards, t-shirts, training manuals and other documentation, and anything else needed to promote serving at YOUR CHURCH and to better serve existing volunteers. Volunteer Central will be staffed with other volunteers and will be the place for volunteers to get questions answered as well as to communicate issues and concerns needing staff attention.
- Ministry Fairs – Plan periodic (2 per year … spring and fall?) events to encourage staff and other ministry areas to connect with prospective volunteers. These “Ministry Fairs” will be set up much like a “tradeshow” with banners, tables, equipment examples (soundboard, walkie-talkies, kids’ curriculum materials, parking vests, etc.), staff and other key volunteers vision casting and answering questions, etc.
- Volunteer Recognition Events – Plan annual volunteer recognition events, focusing on corporate and individual volunteer recognition. Each event will include entertainment, food, music, a brief “message,” funny awards, games (like “Volunteer Feud”), and more fun!
- Stage Pushes – Continue to utilize the “BIG event-based volunteer recruitment” method to drive volunteer growth. Easter Egg Hunt, Easter, Kids’ Camp, Stretch, Christmas Eve, etc. should continue to include pushes to “help out” from the stage. In addition, add 4 more stage pushes, highlighting specific areas of need in the church/formation of new volunteer teams (parking, etc.). Use response cards and ask people to “stop by Volunteer Central” in the lobby.
- New Volunteer Orientation – Create a monthly gathering that is designed to “welcome” new volunteers. The gathering would include training on everything and anything needed to help a volunteer get a good start. Examples include the use of the church’s Church Management Software, building access (keys/codes), how scheduling works, how to check-in on Sunday mornings, answering questions, etc. Provide a “New Volunteer Booklet” as part of the event. Produce some kind of fun video for new volunteers and show it as part of the event. Promote the event everywhere!