Recruiting Volunteers: You’re in Competition for Their Time

Show your potential volunteers how ministry can be a blessing—even though they're busy.
5 min read

Time.

With the ever-increasing pace of life, many of us are scrambling for more of this precious commodity. When it comes to recruiting volunteers for church, this can create an issue.

How often do you hear responses like these when you’re recruiting for your team?

  • “I would love to, but I just have too much on my plate right now.”
  • “My life is already too hectic, but I wish I could help.”
  • “I want to serve, but I’m too busy.”

It’s true. Life is busy. And it is even more busy in the midst of a global pandemic.

No matter what “busy” looks like, it is still an obstacle to overcome for church volunteer recruiting—especially today.

Sometimes it feels as though we are all in a competition to see who can fit the most into their schedule. So, how do we recruit new volunteers when life is so crazy?

Recognize

Start by recognizing how complex life can be. Whether that means trying to balance work, children, sports, and church; caring for aging parents; dealing with significant health issues; or running a business; busy looks different for all of us.

No matter what “busy” looks like, it is still an obstacle to overcome for church volunteer recruiting—especially today.

Busy Mother Organizing Children At Breakfast In Kitchen
Image Credit: zeljkosantrac/E+/Getty Images

As leaders, we need to let volunteers know we recognize life is busy. One way we can communicate that is by being up front with the time commitment required for serving. This will vary based on the role.

So, sit down and figure out how much time goes into each role. How many hours per week will someone need to spend as a teacher in the toddler class? How many hours are necessary to prep curriculum? How many hours for in-person vs. digital volunteers?

This also applies to seasonal help. How many hours will volunteers spend stuffing Easter eggs or setting up for Christmas parties or redecorating a room?

Set realistic timelines and communicate these ahead of time. Not only does this show respect for the person’s time, it communicates that you understand their time is both limited and valuable.

For that reason, you want to help them best arrange their schedule so that serving is an enjoyable experience, whether they are serving once a month or every week.

Reach Out

Knowing that serving can be an enjoyable benefit to someone’s life makes approaching potential team members easier.

Church volunteer recruiting is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and dreaded tasks of the majority of ministry leaders. But, we cannot be afraid to reach out to people. Ministry is an opportunity, not an obligation.

It’s an opportunity to be blessed, and an opportunity to be a blessing. It’s an opportunity to help others grow in their relationship with God, while simultaneously growing in our own. Serving can be a gift to the volunteer, as much as the volunteer is a gift to the ministry.

As part of your church volunteer recruiting strategy, showcase the incredible benefits volunteers will receive from serving on your team—unlock excitement. You already know their lives are busy; you know how much time they need to invest, in the midst of their hectic schedule; now show them how this can be a positive thing.

So often we feel guilty for reaching out to people because we know they have a lot going on. But what if, by not reaching out, we are keeping them from receiving the blessing they need most at this time?

Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Ministry can be a blessing or a burden. Let’s help our volunteers experience what a blessing it can be.

Reaffirm

Once you have identified the complexity of life, you have made a list of time requirements for serving, you have reached out to potential volunteers, and they have signed up, reaffirm their decision.

Remind volunteers what a great choice they have made and help them navigate this within their busy schedules. A great way to do this is through appreciation and celebration, both publicly and personally. Here are some ideas for you.

Send a thank-you note expressing your gratitude for their commitment and your enthusiasm for what God is going to do in and through them within your ministry. Post on social media about the new team member and how excited you are to add them to the team.

This is a very strategic part of church volunteer recruiting—yes, even amidst a pandemic. You are creating a culture of gratitude and honor. People will see this and want to be a part of that healthy environment.

Revisit

There will be some who need to say no for the moment. Respond to them in love, and assure them you will keep them in prayer during this season and be here for them.

Make a note to follow up with them at a later time. Just because it is a no right now, doesn’t mean it will be a no forever.

Help them navigate through their current season. Check in on them occasionally. Spend time building a relationship with them and helping them through their situation. When the time is right, revisit the topic of serving.

Just because it is a no right now, doesn’t mean it will be a no forever.

After the initial conversation, send a thank you note. Let them know how much you appreciate them taking time to discuss ministry. I’ve heard many people express feelings of guilt for having to say no to ministry.

Let them know it is okay to say no. We would rather have people be up front about their time restraints, than sign up for something only to end up having a negative experience.

Children in Sunday School
Image Credit: FatCamera/E+/Getty Images

Reward

With so many things vying for our time, let’s make ministry an easy win. What are some of the benefits that come from serving in your ministry?

Identify people who have served in your ministry for an extended time and ask what keeps them coming back. What do they enjoy most about serving? Why do they love being a part of ministry? Highlight these things when you’re inviting new people to serve.

Ministry can be a blessing or a burden. Let’s help our volunteers experience what a blessing it can be.

We love this resource because ministry coach Byron Ragains empowers you to minister TO your volunteers, not just through them. It’s a game changer! Once you’ve read it, you’ll have a better appreciation for how crucial it is to invest in strong relationships.

Growing Volunteers cover

Growing Volunteers: Building the Body of Christ in Ministry to Kids and Families

Ministry coach Byron Ragains empowers you minister TO your volunteers, not just through them. It’s a game changer!
Free Guide
Growing Volunteers cover

Growing Volunteers: Building the Body of Christ in Ministry to Kids and Families

Ministry coach Byron Ragains empowers you minister TO your volunteers, not just through them. It’s a game changer!
Free Guide
Growing Volunteers cover

Growing Volunteers: Building the Body of Christ in Ministry to Kids and Families

Ministry coach Byron Ragains empowers you minister TO your volunteers, not just through them. It’s a game changer!
Free Guide
post article end mark
  Updated on August 14, 2020

About the Author

  • Rachel Price is an international conference speaker, author, ministry leader, and consultant. She is passionate about equipping leaders to fulfill the calling God has placed on their lives. She is the Children’s Ministries Pastor at Northwest Church in Arkansas. During her ten years in ministry, Rachel has hosted radio programs, appeared on national television, and traveled internationally sharing her passion for the Lord. She is a wife, mother, and coffee enthusiast.

© 2020 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
© 2019 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
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