Your Volunteers: Training Your Greatest Ministry Asset

Once you have recruited a volunteer – moving them from a come-and-see to a come-and-serve mindset – you’ll need to train them.

In the follow-up to ‘Your Volunteers: Recruit,’ Chris Mavity’s ‘Your Volunteers: Train’ addresses three critical components to training: the differences between training and equipping, training for the long term, and the four characteristics of healthy training – but what, exactly, does each mean and entail?

Training v. Equipping: As Mavity puts it, “Training is providing input, in various forms, to influence a person’s future actions, attitudes, and behaviors. You’ll need to train your volunteers so that they achieve the specific ministry outcomes you desire. Equipping is about providing the resources a person needs to perform the duties associated with the roles and responsibilities for which they have been selected. For example, a custodian needs a vacuum cleaner, a data entry volunteer needs a computer, and a Sunday school teacher needs a classroom and supplies.”

Training for the Long Term: There are two types of training: orientation and ongoing training. Orientation training helps your volunteers understand the role, responsibilities,and expected outcomes of the assignment. It also gives your volunteers enough guidance, information and instruction necessary to complete the assignment while helping them gain confidence. Ongoing training is focused on life-skills development by helping your volunteers become a better version of themselves and communicating that you care about them as people – not just in a ministry capacity – and that you will pour into them to make them better in all aspects of their lives.

Four Characteristics of Healthy Training: As you develop your training, keep it …

… simple. Understand the purpose or scope of your meetings and tailor your information and activities to that single purpose.

… spreadable. Volunteer training that works in one department of your church will likely be useful – with a few modifications – in others.

… scalable. As you grow, your processes will need to be able to adjust to account for the number of volunteers you have.

… scrappable. If something isn’t working, scrap it. Keep the focus on outcomes, engagement, participation and productivity.

Training your volunteers takes commitment, time, effort and energy – but it’s so worth it. When you make a commitment to training your volunteers, you’ll find that your training will keep everyone focused on growth, your volunteers will become influential members of your congregation, and you’ll better be able to anticipate what’s next.

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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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