Churches often look forward to major holidays since they’re great times for new visitors. However, there is a noticeable downside.
Your current members aren’t nearly as engaged as they usually are. In fact, they’re typically busier than ever rushing around to prepare for the holiday.
While you can’t always make them slow down, there are ways to help boost attendance and volunteers during the holiday seasons.
Up to 69% of people feel they have no time available during the holidays and it’s stressful. Churches often need more volunteers than ever during the holidays. However, it’s important to remember that your members also have other obligations pulling them in 20 different directions at once. Whenever possible, combine church activities during the holiday seasons or shorten the time on activities, such as cutting services by 15-20 minutes.
It’s a compromise, but it’s one that helps members attend church more and makes volunteers more eager to lend a hand.
Create Flexible Schedules
Your church has to be flexible during the holidays. There’s no denying that the holidays do get in the way of church sometimes. Flexibility is key to making sure there’s time for church and holiday celebrations. For instance, if members are having a hard time attending, put services online. If volunteers aren’t available at the time you want, offer up a few alternate times. Everything still gets done, but a flexible schedule reduces stress.
Ask Less Of Volunteers
This might not seem like the right time to ask less of volunteers, but it’s actually the perfect time. If you want to keep your volunteers happy and motivated, respect their time. Any time they can give should be appreciated.
If possible, try to get more volunteers on board, but ask less of each of them. For instance, if 10 volunteers don’t have time to commit to two hours a few times a week, try to get 20 volunteers together to commit to an hour instead.
Simply asking less and being respectful may show other members that you do value your volunteers. This leads to more overall volunteers.
Treat Volunteers Well Throughout The Year
You don’t have to wait until a holiday is upon you to make some changes. If you lack volunteers during the holidays, the problem might not be a lack of time, but prioritization. Your members and volunteers are going to arrange their time by what’s most important to them and those they care about.
Your church has to build a strong relationship with volunteers all year long to ensure volunteering is high on their list of priorities during some of their busiest times. Treat them well and avoid common mistakes to motivate volunteers to spend more time with the church during the holidays.
Have Fewer Holiday Events
Take a moment to think about all the events and activities that go on during the various holidays throughout the year. Just think about the ones associated with your church. Are all of them necessary? Could you cut back at all? For instance, does your church really need to work with 10 different charities during Christmas?
Consolidate events, such as having the children’s play and a special music group on the same night. Limit how many charities you work with to reduce the number of volunteers needed. Simply cutting back just a little allows your members and volunteers to devote more time to church activities.
Make Activities Relevant
If you want more volunteers during the holidays, make sure what you’re asking them to do is important to them. Talk with all your members long before any holiday to see what activities and community events they’d like to be involved with most.
Volunteers are more likely to feel motivated and want to give their time, even when they’re incredibly busy, if it’s a cause that’s close to their heart. For instance, a church filled with families of smaller children might find that partnering with children’s organizations or fundraising to help local children leads to more happy volunteers.
Be Patient And Prepared
Finally, just be patient and be prepared. The holidays will get in the way, no matter how good of intentions your volunteers might have. Don’t worry. Your members will come back after the holidays and volunteering will pick back up.
For now, be ready to compromise a little. Stay engaged with everyone via your website, social media and maybe even a podcast. The important part is to ensure that all your members have a way to worship easily, even if they can’t make it to church.
Does your church have a site to keep members and volunteers connected during the holidays? If not, find out how our team can help.