Over the past few weeks we’ve had a big emphasis in volunteering at our church. We’ve been able to get more people plugged into serving that weren’t serving anywhere. One of the big keys to our success has been clearly establishing what our serving opportunities are and what is involved in each role. Every church ministry wants more volunteers but we don’t always do a great job of communicating what we want them to do. Then we get frustrated when they don’t do it. How can we break this cycle?

Here are four elements to think through in helping your ministry communicate with volunteers what you need them to do so they’ll actually do it:

The Reason
Everything should come back to purpose. Why does this role exist? How does someone in this role make a difference? What value do they add in the overall mission of the ministry and church. The key is to keep it short and simple (twitter-sized). Here are a few examples:

Full-Time Kidmin Pastor: Provide direction, representation, and preparation for our Children’s Ministry staff.

Part-Time Kidmin Assistant Director: Ensure volunteers know what to do & have what they need to disciple kids.

Volunteer Small Group Leader: Provide an environment where kids can learn about God, connect with others, and discover how to serve.

The Requirements
What does someone need to do in order to join your ministry? Clarifying these hoops will minimize frustration for potential leaders latter. The steps should be specific, easy, obvious, and strategic. Click here for a sample of how we do this at High Desert Church.

The Responsibilities
Before someone joins your team you and they should be on the same page about what’s expected of them. This is the “How” part of the job description. For every role there should be some kind of checklist of what they’ll need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Things to include in this section: service times, meetings, preparation, outside church time, etc. Going over this BEFORE anyone starts will help to make sure no one gets blindsided about what’s coming up.

The Rewards
Job descriptions for paid positions include this but most volunteer ones don’t. I think it’s a good idea to include what someone is going to get out of serving on your team. This may sound a little too selfish for some but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting potential volunteers know about some of the rewards they’ll get from serving others. Most people who are interested in serving aren’t look for something huge. Reminding them of the friendships that can be made, the fulfillment that can be had, and their faith that will grow as a result of being on your team can’t be a bad thing.

Here’s a sample of what a job description like this might look like:

Writing job descriptions for your paid and volunteer leaders probably isn’t why you got into ministry. I get it. But when you realize the benefits of clarifying what you need, communicating it upfront, and checking-in to inspect what you expect you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing it sooner.


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