How To Recruit More Church Volunteers


Gain > Train > Retain

When it comes to recruiting more church volunteers, it’s easy to feel frustrated at the apparent lack of willingness of your church members to step up and serve.

Maybe you’ve tried arm-twisting people into serving…

Perhaps you’ve resorted to guilt-trip tactics or even bribery…

You may find yourself throwing up your arms in despair and either doing it yourself or overworking the faithful few.

Today I have good news! There is a much better way…

I’m going to share with you some techniques and approaches I learned from the Volunteer Rocket Core Coaching that will help you recruit more church volunteers.

Also, right now for GrowChurch readers it’s FREE for 7-days so you can test drive it for yourself and see exactly how it works.

Whether you need to recruit more children’s church workers, youth leaders, greeters or musicians – Volunteer Rocket is my number one recommended resource with how-to coaching, done-for-you resources, and real church examples and interviews.

Here are nine steps you can start working on today to help you recruit more church volunteers:

1. Show Them the Big Picture

Whatever task, big or small, always tie the work of the volunteer to the overall vision of the church. Your church must have a clear and compelling vision.

It’s hard to get excited about givingyour time and energy to something simply because there’s no one else to do it.

But if I can see the big picture and see how I can help make the bigger vision happen – now that’s something I can push towards and give into.

Recruit church volunteers with vision, never from need or necessity.

Need more youth workers?

Start by raising the value of your church’s youth ministry. Share stories in your sermons about life change in youth or have volunteers share stories about how their lives have been changed.

And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2

 2. Let Them Know They Can Make a Difference

7 Surefire Ways To Get People To Volunteer in Your ChurchExcite people with the vision, the bigger picture then help them to see how they can get involved.

Nobody wants to be a nobody and everybody wants to be a somebody. Everybody wants to make a difference.

People often volunteer because they want to make a difference, an impact, so show them life change, show them it’s worthwhile.

No matter how menial they task may be: washing cups after the service, replacing light bulbs or directing people where to park  – show your potential volunteers that the part they play is vital to the overall success of the church.

For example, if someone’s considering becoming a children’s church worker, tell them the story of how Timmy’s behavour has improved since he started coming, how he tells his mum it’s the highlight of his week.

Explain how Timmy was struggling at school but since they joined the church 3 months ago, Timmy’s grades have gone up and now he’s really coming out of his shell…

Whatever your example is, show people that their contribution counts. By stepping up to volunteer, your people will leave a lasting legacy.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.“ 1 Cor 12:27 (The Message)

3. Treat Your Volunteers As The Professionals They Are

7 Surefire Ways To Get People To Volunteer in Your ChurchIf 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.

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

Get creative, be outrageous and celebrate your church volunteers!

“What gets rewarded gets repeated. Andy Stanley” [Tweet this]

4. Invest Your Best

Begin monthly leadership classes for all church volunteers.

Teach them everything you know about creating the right environments and culture, how to deal with confrontation, how to recruit other volunteers, how to do what they’re doing even better.

Give them your best.

Don’t teach people where they’re at but always at a level higher – they’ll always rise to it.

Not only is this another way to value your existing teams, but this will raise curiosity with the other church members.

You want them asking “I wonder what they are being taught? Are they getting special time with the pastor?” They”ll want in on it!

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 a minimum of six 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’

dreamworkWhen churches are small, the leader finds himself greeting people at the door, leading worship, preaching, 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 and hinder church growth.

Step back and allow others to take on roles and responsibilities. Invest time, 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.

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

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

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

We need to equip others to multiply our influence.

Stop doing ministry to start building teams.

7. Volunteering Doesn’t Have To Be Life-Sentence

Most people are scared to even offer to help because too many times we  are so hungry for volunteers that as soon as anyone shows interest we latch onto them and never let them go.

You’ll find recruiting church volunteers a whole lot easier once you assure them it doesn’t have to be a life-sentence.

This is where a trial run, or ‘first serve’ comes in handy.

The first rule of the serve is that there are no strings attached so that people are encouraged to try out different ministries and find one that fits them.

If the person likes it, they come back. If not, they try something else. No big deal.

This low-pressure environment encourages people to explore any ministry that interests them.

The more ministries they try out, the more likely they’ll find the perfect place to serve.

From there, you or your ministry department leader can maybe ask them to commit to 12 weeks, or 6 months, whatever the case may be.

Always recruit volunteers with specific end dates, they are much more likely to say “yes” if they know they will have a time when the work is done.

At that time, they can renew their commitment or move to another area of passion.

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 talk 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 Leeds, England. 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 an opportunity to play guitar. That same guy lit up with enthusiasm and the next 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.

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

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.

When you get this opportunity to invite someone to take a next step, don’t say no for them. Let them pray through it. Give them space to hear from God.

These are not nine easy shortcuts to recruit more church volunteers overnight.

However, these steps and strategies can help you to recruit more church volunteers in the long run. It won’t be easy, and it’ll take time.

So start now.

Take one step forward.

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

Have you seen Volunteer Rocket yet? Take advantage of the free trial.

I really believe it’ll help you tremendously in the area of building and managing ministry teams.

Over to you, pastors and church leaders: What do you think to this list, what’s worked well for you? Share your thoughts below.

4 thoughts on “How To Recruit 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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