In a few previous posts, I’ve addressed the importance of each staff member having a documented job description. However, in many smaller church situations, church leaders work more with volunteer staff than with paid staff. And, it’s just as important to provide a volunteer with a document that outlines expectations. In fact, it might even be a little more important.
We do this using a “Ministry Description.” What’s the difference? The ministry description has a lot of the same content, but it differs in that it defines the purpose, time commitment, and other aspects pertinent to a volunteer.
The ministry description begins with a purpose statement. For a volunteer, it’s important to “state the purpose” of the volunteer position. Vision casting the purpose and overall importance of the need for the position and how it relates to the overall ministry and mission is critical.
The general description is next. In the same way as the job description, the general description is a sentence or 2 giving the overall description of the position. It should describe the volunteer position at a high level and stand alone as a description of the volunteer opportunity.
The time commitment section of the ministry description spells out the amount of time required of the volunteer. This varies depending on the position. For example, more time will be required of a leader (such as Operations Leader) than a non-leader (Usher). It’s important to state this expectation in the ministry description.
Specific Duties and Responsibilities
In this section of the ministry description, spell out the specifics of the volunteer position in some detail. The volunteer should understand what’s being asked of them at an almost “step-by-step” level. Stop short of the detail provided in a “work instruction.”
Training, Resources, And Other Requirements
Be sure to state any training requirements or resources needed, especially if the volunteer position requires the volunteer to pay for training or provide their own resources.
Again similar to a job description, the ministry description should document the reporting relationship between the volunteer and a volunteer team leader(s) or church staff.