Volunteers build a strong ministry Print
Written by Rose Seeley   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 09:26 AM America/New_York

So you want to build a volunteer team? Or perhaps you already have a team but seem to be stalled in the areas of growth or motivation and commitment. Maybe you’re not sold on the benefits of using volunteers but are compelled by church culture or your bottom line to do so.

While there are many challenges to working with volunteers, the benefits are definitely there and worth considering. Besides inventory, staffing can affect your store’s bottom line more than any other item. It’s also a blessing to work with so many brothers and sisters in your church family, see them thrive and grow, and become more connected to their home church.

RoseSeeleyBuilding your team can start with something as simple as just asking for volunteers. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most powerful ways is to ask personally. Many people have not stepped out to serve because they’re undecided where to serve or may be a little timid. Approaching someone in a friendly, no-pressure way and asking them to volunteer is often just the push they need to finally jump in and commit.

You may want to get others to ask on your behalf. Your current volunteer staff is a good source of recruiting new volunteers. There are other ways to ask; just use your imagination!

When asking for volunteers, one thing to keep in mind is that often friends and family prefer to serve together because it’s more convenient and fun.

Once you have identified new team members, get them signed up and started quickly while they are still eager. If their enthusiasm wanes, they may change their minds or be snatched away by another ministry.

Keep your team growing and thriving with ongoing training. Create a positive, fun environment in which people can serve. Make certain to be generous with appreciation. Training is a continual task, and gestures of appreciation will build confidence in your volunteers.

A positive environment keeps them looking forward to serving, and knowing how much they are appreciated keeps them from leaving.

Working with a volunteer team can be limiting but often is necessary. It’s a big job to do right. But the rewards—from the relationships you build to the opportunity to increase profits—can make the challenge well worth it!

Rose Seeley, retail services director, Cottonwood Church, Los Alamitos, California