A main reason that most people volunteer in a church setting is to strengthen their relationship with God. When we spend time in the house of God, we can be encouraged not only in our faith but in our relationship with the community. We have all been called by the Lord to serve and spread the Word of Christ, so volunteering represents the purpose of Christian devotion. As a church volunteer, there are endless volunteer opportunities like serving in the kids team, production, worship, outreach ministries and more.
Whether you’re serving in kids’s ministry or event planning, your time spent volunteering for your local church will have a huge impact. The church relies on the hard work of volunteers, so it’s important that we nourish and encourage those that want to give up their time. Here, we’ll outline what it take to recruit new volunteers and making it known all the areas of opportunity for church volunteers.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Table of contents
- Recruit Volunteers
- Cast the vision of the church
- List your values
- Offer opportunities for volunteers to use their strengths
- Set clear expectations
- Ask for a commitment
- Church Volunteer Opportunities
God has uniquely equipped every person in the Church with very specific skillsets and gifts. As Christians, we are tasked with utilizing these gifts in our community and within the local church. Using your God-given skills as a volunteer is a great way to serve the church while simultaneously lightening the load of a church’s staff.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Volunteer training is key to recruiting volunteers. Everyone wants to feel confident in the task they need to perform and we should equip everyone with important information they need to succeed. As anyone begins the step towards volunteering, it’s important to train them and take care of everyone. Invite volunteers to an after service meeting to get all the information they need when making the decision in which team to serve on.
Barna reported this year that 38% of Practicing Christians Strongly Agree Every Person Should Volunteer Regularly. It’s important to note for pastors, as well as leaders or fundraisers interested in working with congregations, to know that Christians are even more likely than the general population to see volunteering as important.
In fact, 38 percent of the practicing Christians strongly agree that every person should volunteer regularly, well over the 19 percent average in the general population.
Cast the vision of the church
Make sure to include the mission and vision of the church in the volunteer descriptions to solidify and unify your volunteers in their understanding of not only what the church is about, but also how the church intends to carry out their mission. Sunday school classes or classes about the church are great places to highlight the vision too!
Verbally communicating your vision is great for motivating people, but over time it can become diluted or repetitive if heard too often. Offering prospective volunteers a copy of the vision gives it clarity and intentionality. It also offers an opportunity for volunteers to buy into the vision and empowers them to be a part of it. As church leaders, you need to give people a reason to want to volunteer in their church community.
List your values
Your church’s values shape your church culture – both the staff culture and the volunteer culture. If you want to protect your church from becoming a toxic environment, then you need to rely not only on the leadership and staff but also on your volunteers to uphold the things you all hold dear. It’s about finding balance between your staff roles and volunteer efforts. As Christians we are all created differently to make up the body of the Church.
Give your volunteers permission to speak up to others serving in the church if they see values being consistently disregarded. Doing so in love and kindness helps us all grow. Invite them to be Christ-bearers by keeping the culture of your church a welcoming, truth-filled community committed to excellence.
Offer opportunities for volunteers to use their strengths
You may already have purposes for each of your volunteer teams (i.e. hospitality team, production team, facilities team, etc.), but you may not have gone so far to articulate in writing the goals of those teams and create roles within those teams. Consider developing a handout for each of your teams that focus on different aspects of or needs within each of the ministries. Do this so that volunteers can choose what roles play into their natural strengths.
Here’s an example for you: If you have a children’s team, you’ll need small group leaders, check-in team, welcome team, worship leaders, etc. Each role will take a different kind of person. For someone in the check-in team and welcome team, they should be outgoing, talkative and have high energy that welcomes kids into church service. Not everyone on the kids team needs to have an outgoing personality, you’ll also need small group leaders that can connect and relate to those kids that are more shy to help draw them into conversations.
Each of these is a distinct role that will appeal to a different volunteer. In your job descriptions, explain what each role has to offer and what it takes to execute their responsibilities, and then let volunteers self-select where they feel their strengths lie.
Set clear expectations
Include in the volunteer job descriptions all of the volunteer role’s responsibilities, the person that role has to report to, the amount of time their role will take on a typical Sunday, and any other expectations during the middle of the week. Develop a system that allows volunteers to give their time without getting too burnt out, and ensure that they have opportunities to get the rest and spiritual nourishment they need.
Many churches have a “serve one, sit one” policy they recommend that volunteers “sit” in one worship service as a participant and “serve” as a volunteer for the other weekend service. It’s also a smart idea to specify how many weeks a month they will be put on their rotation.
Having these clear expectations in writing not only informs the volunteer, it also gives permission to both parties to address unmet expectations. There should never be any pressure on a volunteer to be at every service even if they want to. There’s a fine line in volunteer positions between wanting to serve all the time, but also keeping God as the main focus and making sure to spend time with Him as well.
To stay a healthy, thriving church, you have to be able to address those expectations and make necessary adjustments. Don’t just appreciate your volunteers; empower them. Don’t just ask them to show up; show you care.
Ask for a commitment
When you give a volunteer a job description, treat it like a job offer. Ask them to take it home, read it, pray about it, and then let you know what they think. If they’re ready to accept, you should both sign the job description as an agreement. It may seem formal, but the point isn’t to tie your volunteer down or guilt them into good behavior.
The point is to empower, set clear expectations, and prove to your volunteers that what they do matters. If their time and talents are treated seriously, they will feel the weight of what they are a part of and have more buy in.
The more direct impact on the vision and mission a volunteer feels they have, the more willing they will be to go above and beyond what is asked of them. It’s also a great rule of thumb to refer to your volunteer teams by their team names and roles and to refer to volunteers and staff in the church leader general as “the team.” This unites everyone under one common vision and mission. Your congregation will feel empowered as leaders and be thrilled to join something bigger than themselves. Your “team” will never be the same!
Church Volunteer Opportunities
For every church, you’ll have different needs and different areas of positions that need filled. Smaller churches might not need camera operators if they don’t have cameras for the main stage. Your church might not need a parking team if your parking lot is small. It all depends on the roles to fill. Volunteers have a wide range of strengths and talents they bring to the table, so make it clear their opportunities.
The worship team is a vital and important role for any church. Every Sunday, the worship team has the opportunity to lead the congregation members in worshipping to God. They are the ones who set the atmosphere at the top of the service and lead people to worshipping Jesus. This is an important volunteer role and can at times be a big time commitment. Typically there are workshops or training sessions that volunteers will go through before fully joining the team. Every church will be different in how they go about this, so figure out how you want to train your worship volunteers! There will also be rehearsals involved usually once a week before Sunday.
The photography team is also an important part of any volunteer role. The pictures that are captured will go on social media and help promote each service or other conferences. Some people are not always convinced that photography is needed at church, but capturing the heart of God is an important job. People with creative talents have a special task of highlighting the heart and soul of the church.
The production team also plays a vital role in any Sunday. These are the people that control cameras, lyrics on the screen, lighting and sound and playing back videos on the screen. This is also a great chance for creative people to use their gifts and talents.
Local and global outreach teams can provide a variety of assistance. Some examples are: volunteering at food pantries or soup kitchens, delivering meals, street evangelism, supporting pregnancy centers, collecting Christmas gifts for children, international missions trips, and helping people secure stable housing.
The facilities team plays a big role in the church and help take care of the grounds. These tasks include landscaping, trash clean-up, bathroom clean-up, chair management, event set-up, and any severe weather related issues.
The kids team is usually one of the most energetic group of volunteers. As a volunteer for the kids team, there’s typically worship involved, small group discipleship and game time. A kids team is very important as this is where the next generation begins their learning about God. This should be a welcoming environment for children to grow and develop over the years.
The youth ministry needs volunteers with a lot of energy just like for the kids team! Youth ministry is very involved and is more than just a Sunday service. Youth ministry is all about doing life with them and helping them through hard times in their life. At most churches, the youth ministry meets once a week on a Wednesday night. This might include small groups and worship or other activities. Most youth groups will do a lot of activities throughout the year and it will require a big time commitment from volunteers.
The hospitality team is for those who love to take care of people. This may involve serving coffee, breakfast items and taking care of other volunteers in a green room. If someone loves serving others, then this could be a great team for them. Also, for those that love conversation, hospitality is great place to volunteer!
- coffee team
- volunteer care team
The welcome team is a very important team because these are the volunteers that church guests will see first. Members of the parking team will greet people with a smile and help them find parking. The greeters at the door help to welcome people in and open the door. Ushers help guests find their seats especially if the service has already started. They might even help pass down offering buckets. The connection team is there to answer any questions and help people get involved.
- parking team
- connection team
The care support team can look like a lot of things such as organizing meals for those who are sick or just had babies. Perhaps even running errands for those that can’t do it for themselves. Or standing in prayer for those that need it.
The security team has a simple but very important job. If you have a lot of entrances and kids around, then you’ll need someone to stand guard at door. Also to keep the safety of everyone in top priority. This is especially relevant if you live in a big city or in a neighborhood where you might have people who aren’t regular members. They also will act as the first person to call if there is an emergency. Some churches might have security stationed at volunteer checkpoints checking bags to make sure that everyone is safe.
There are so many amazing opportunities for people to get involved. Make sure to clearly outline the roles and what you need as a church. Volunteers are important and make up the heart of the church. We are all servants of God. Our goal should always be to make His house a welcoming place to be and serve.