Appreciating Volunteers – 33 Actionable Ideas

Volunteers are the life blood of your church. In fact … your church literally wouldn’t exist without them! Often it’s small actions that show your true feelings about your volunteer teams. Why not pick a few of these things off this list and try them this weekend at your church? The first step towards building healthy volunteer teams is making sure that your existing team members feel appreciated!

  1. At the beginning of every “shift” make sure team leaders cast vision for “why” their service is critical to the vision of the church.
  2. Visit every service area that you are “responsible” for this Sunday and say “thank you.”
  3. Send birthday cards.
  4. Every time a volunteer serves send a “what to expect” email three or four days before.
  5. Assign some people to spend time with new volunteers on the first weekend they serve with you.
  6. Take time out during the message to brag about how amazing your volunteers are.
  7. Get to know what’s happening in your volunteers personal lives.
  8. Make sure there is a enough work for volunteers to do when they arrive … don’t waste their time!
  9. Food … always have a meal available before or after they serve.
  10. Make it easy for your team leaders to send regular thank you notes to their team members.
  11. At the end of every “shift” take time to hear what the volunteers think could be improved on for the future.
  12. Open up leadership development opportunities for volunteers to advance in the church.
  13. Don’t impose new policy’s and procedures without at least talking them through with your team.
  14. Throw parties regularly.
  15. Write letters of reference for students volunteering with you.
  16. Read “impact emails” that you get about how great your church is to your team.
  17. Easy off ramps … don’t lock your team into perpetual service!
  18. Send out a press release to your community paper celebrating your team when they do something “above and beyond”.
  19. Make sure your volunteers are “first to know” about exciting things happening in the future of your church.
  20. Give them a team t-shirt
  21. Make sure everyone has a name tag on.
  22. Use quotes from your team members in your “annual report” … or other donor targeted communications.
  23. Calculate how many hours your volunteers have served in that last year and celebrate that!
  24. Reinforce regularly with paid staff that our #1 role is to support our volunteers.
  25. Take pictures of your volunteers serving and post them on various Social Media channels.
  26. Make sure your volunteers have the best equipment you can afford for them to work with.
  27. Create easy channels for your volunteers to communicate with the church leadership.
  28. Insist that the church reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses.
  29. Send ‘em a hand signed Christmas card.
  30. Have good coffee and a few snacks available when they arrive.
  31. Allow some volunteers to gain more influence & take on more responsibility.
  32. Take at least one volunteer a week out every week to thank them and get to know them better.
  33. Buy 10 books that have impacted you and give them to 10 volunteers who have gone “above and beyond” recently.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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