9 Ways To Gain, Train & Retain More Church Volunteers

Are you struggling to gain, train, and retain church volunteers?

It can be frustrating when your efforts seem to fall short and you find yourself resorting to arm-twisting, guilt-tripping, or overworking a faithful few…

But fear not, there is a much better way to build a thriving volunteer team, and it starts with Church Fuel’s Volunteer Course.

Today, I’ll share 9 powerful steps inspired by this invaluable resource to help you recruit more church volunteers and grow your church.

9 Ways To Recruit More Church Volunteers

1. Show Them The Big Picture

Every task, no matter how big or small, must be tied to the church’s clear and compelling vision.

Move beyond the “spot that needs filling” mentality and inspire your potential volunteers with the bigger vision of your church.

Share life-changing stories of transformation and growth to ignite their passion for serving.

2. Let Them Know They Can Make A Difference

Volunteers seek to make a difference and be a part of something impactful.

Whether they’re washing cups or leading worship, show them how their contribution is vital to the church’s success.

Share personal stories of how their service has positively impacted others, like Timmy, who blossomed after joining the children’s church team.

3. Treat Your Volunteers Well

If you offer early Sunday morning coffee and doughnut to your staff, do the same for all of your workers.

Really work hard at removing the gap between paid staff and volunteers.

Potential volunteers will see this. You are far more likely to recruit more church volunteers if your existing volunteers are fulfilled and happy.

Leaders should find ways, even if it’s as simple as a phone call or email or letter, to honour and thank volunteers at least once monthly.

Get creative, be outrageous and celebrate your church volunteers!

See 30 Creative Ways To Say “Thank You!” To Your Church Volunteers

“What gets rewarded gets repeated.”

4. Invest In Your Best

Equip your volunteers with monthly leadership classes that elevate their skills and confidence.

Give them your best, teaching them at a level higher than their current abilities, and watch them rise to the challenge.

Download these free church volunteer huddle talks.

This investment not only values your existing team but also piques the interest of potential recruits.

You want people in your church to think, “I wonder what they are being taught? Are they getting special time with the pastor?

They’ll want in on it!

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5. Make It Easy To Volunteer

Are you forcing would-be volunteers to leap through flaming hoops whilst back flipping before they can start greeting visitors at the door?

Don’t be surprised if nobody’s coming forward!

Remove the obstacles and make it as easy as possible to serve.

My rule is simple: other than the role of worship leader or preaching, anybody can do anything.

Yes, really.

I don’t ask them to complete a 3-month discipleship course before they can volunteer. I don’t ask them to tithe for 6 months before they can serve.

In fact, I do all I can to get newcomers involved because not only does this give them a feeling of importance, it helps them belong. They’re plugged in and a part of a team.

6. Stop Doing, Start Building

When churches are small, the leader finds himself greeting people at the door, leading worship, preaching and serving tea and coffee.

It’s easy to get into the “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing myself” mentality.

In the short term, it’s easier and quicker just to do it yourself, but longer term this’ll put a cap on and hinder church growth.

Step back and allow others to take on roles and responsibilities. Invest time and cultivate your patience in training others. There needs to be a shift in how we invest in people.

Rather than getting individual people to do ministry, we have to begin building teams who do the ministry.

A leader who is passionate about discipleship, can’t disciple every person.

A leader who pours into students can’t minister to every student.

A leader who loves children can’t personally invest in every child.

We need to equip others to multiply our influence.

7. Don’t Make Volunteering A Life Sentence

When it comes to recruiting church volunteers, many people are hesitant to step forward because they fear being trapped in a never-ending commitment.

As church leaders, it’s essential to reassure potential volunteers that serving doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

Introducing the concept of a trial run or a ‘first serve’ can work wonders in this regard.

The beauty of the ‘first serve’ is that there are no strings attached, offering individuals the freedom to explore various ministries and discover where their passions align best.

If they enjoy the experience, they can come back for more, and if not, they can try something else without pressure or judgment.

This low-pressure environment encourages people to explore their interests fully, helping them find the perfect place to serve.

Consider suggesting specific timeframes for commitment, such as 12 weeks or 6 months, based on the nature of the ministry.

By recruiting volunteers with specific end dates in mind, they are more likely to say “yes” with confidence, knowing they have a defined period to contribute.

Ultimately, providing flexibility and purpose in volunteering will not only attract more volunteers but also lead to greater fulfilment and longevity in their service.

8. Recruit Church Volunteers Based On Their Passions

Give me a young people’s small group and I’ll run with it, but stick me in a corner office with the job of keeping accurate accounts of the church’s finances and it’ll feel like solitary confinement, I’ll drag my feet.

Rather than tell people of the ministry ‘gaps’ that need filling, try sitting down with them and talking about where their passions are.

If not, you will have to recruit with compulsion or guilt. Volunteers recruited like this are not only likely to quit their work at the church; they are also likely to leave the church altogether.

I remember when I was the worship leader for a small church in the UK, I had so much trouble trying to motivate my drummer. He would turn up late for practices and generally didn’t seem interested at all.

That changed one day when I offered him an opportunity to play guitar. That same guy lit up with enthusiasm and was the first to turn up to rehearsals.

The moral of the story is:

Don’t recruit out of a place of necessity; place your church volunteers where they best fit in line with their passions, skills and interests and you’ll find it a lot easier to motivate your church volunteers.

“Don’t recruit church volunteers to complete tasks; give believers a chance to use their spiritual gifts.”

9. Invite People Personally

Ever announced from the stage that volunteers are needed and then wondered why no one ever signed up?

With announcements, notice sheets or email blasts, people always assume the announcement is for someone else.

It’s only when you sit across the table and invite someone personally to volunteer that they begin to consider it.

Last but not least, recruit more church volunteers using the all-important personal approach.

This means you have to invest in relationships first.

Relationships build a common understanding and position us to share the vision behind the serving opportunity because we’ll get to hear what their passions and giftings are. It empowers us to ask confidently knowing the person will be a great fit.

And when you get this opportunity to invite someone to take the next step, don’t say no for them. Let them pray through it and give them space to hear from God.

Recruiting Church Volunteers: Bottom Line

While these nine steps are not quick fixes for overnight success, they lay the foundation for sustainable growth in recruiting more church volunteers over time.

So start now.

Take one step forward today.

This is your chance to expand your influence and your impact.

And if you’re looking for additional support and resources to supercharge your ministry teams, take a look at Church Fuel.

With its wealth of practical courses, resources, and 1-on-1 coaching, Church Fuel is your go-to hub for empowering and managing your volunteer ministry effectively.

Don’t miss out on the chance to transform your church with a thriving and dedicated volunteer force.

Click here to discover more about Church Fuel and take your ministry to new heights.

Your church and community will thank you for it.

4 thoughts on “9 Ways To Gain, Train & Retain More Church Volunteers”

  1. Thank you so much for the sacrifice of time and organization in writing all of this down and sharing it with the Body.
    By way of introducton…My husband and I are church leaders who have established churches from ground level to maturity and given those churches to leaders we also trained to continue those works. This church planting and establishing is ongoing. At the same time we are also Senior pastors of another local church (we planted) and we regularly train and counsel leaders in the U.S. and overseas. Also, through our School of Ministry we train and equip any one who feels the call of God to be an effective Christian, lay leader ,a pastor , evangelist etc. ( dishwasher, dog catcher… you name it …if you want to do it for God we will find a way to help you do it… 🙂

    Why did I write that down…truly not for pride or as a self-reference for glory seeking…but to express how I enjoyed and was genuinely refreshed by reading what you have shared on this site. The reading was not “gimmicky” nor presented in a “lofty” manner and I found certain points to be valuable gems of common sense and practicality.

    I am deeply grateful to know that, as an experienced “old head”, I am yet teachable because as I read the information I found myself being inspired and growing inside. I would pray that others, of great experience or none at all, would partake of this site as the Lord has given it through you so the population of heaven would increase.
    Great encouragement and many blessings to you,


    • Wow thank you so much, I think you just made my day! Honestly it’s very humbling to hear something like this from someone like you.

      I set out with the aim of being as straight-forward and practical as possible because I often found a great disconnect between reading and learning and knowing how to actually apply at the grass-roots level.

      There is still so much I want to learn. I want to become a ‘master builder’ and learn how to create and grow strong groups that multiply to scale. I’m nowhere close to where I need to be but here on the mission field in Thailand I’m getting to try things out, experiment, make mistakes and learn along the way.

      Bless you, bless you! God bless you and the wonderful work that you do!

  2. Wow!I thank God for this article for it refreshes me on what are the do`s and dont`s in recruiting volunteers in the church.


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