How to Get Volunteers at Church and Keep Them

Volunteers are priceless resources to run ministries in the church. Most churches cannot afford to pay for all the people who serve at a church. Who's going to teach the middle school youth group? What about the running of the nursery? Outreach takes committed people, too. Gone are the days of guilt trips to attain volunteers--or they should be. Everyone in the church has a spiritual gift. First Corinthians 12 explains about the spiritual gifts and how they are to be used for the good of the church body. Read on for some ideas to help you fill the positions needed, and keep the volunteers you have to continue the good work for God's kingdom.

Decide what the people needs are in the ministry you are leading. List the spiritual gifts and talents needed for these positions. If it is teaching a Sunday School class for an elementary age, the gifts may include teaching, discernment, organization, creativity, understanding of the Scripture, or another gift.

Pray for God's leading of whom to go to and offer the opportunity to serve. Remember that it is an opportunity you will be offering them, and not a burden to bear. God works mightily through those who answer His call to serve. List the names God has put on your heart to ask. Pray that God will prepare their heart to receive the request.

Approach the people one at a time to ask to pray about their involvement in this ministry. Share with them that you have been praying about who to give this opportunity to serve to and God had placed their name on your heart. Ask them to pray to see if they also feel God moving them in that direction. List the gifts and talents you have witnessed from them, and how that matches with the job description you have put together, and give them a copy of it. Ask if you can contact them in a week to see if they have an answer. Then follow up with them in a week.

For the volunteers that have accepted the opportunity, make sure they have all the materials they need to do their ministry. Working with children may require forms for background checks and other information. If the volunteer needs training, set up a training time for them. Do whatever you can to make this process easy for them. It's a good idea to get fun information from them like their favorite scripture verse, favorite candy, their birthday, and so forth, so that you have some ideas during the year on how to surprise them with gifts of appreciation. Be creative and fun in this. Always be in prayer for your volunteers and communicate to them that you are praying for them.

Appreciation can be shown in a myriad of ways such as a special note, treat, recognition during a service or in the bulletin. Volunteers are priceless, and you have the opportunity to convey that message to them of how they are so appreciated.

At the close of the year, send thank you notes to your volunteers expressing how you have seen God working through them. If volunteers feel valued, they will more likely return to volunteer.