A couple of months ago my team and I were getting ready to host a training event for our volunteers. We had been putting the word out for some time but weren’t getting many RSVPs.

Normally this wouldn’t bother me so much. Most people are pretty last minute with their plans or get so busy with other things they just forget.

But as we got closer to our training we started received more than a few emails from people, saying they were at our last training (about six months before) and didn’t see the purpose of coming to another one. Some of them were new volunteers, but many were volunteers that had been on our team for years.

At our staff meeting leading up to our training we talked about the feedback we were receiving. During our discussion we realized that, while we had told our volunteers when and where our training was going to be, we had neglected to cast a compelling vision for WHY they should attend.

So I decided to email everyone, addressing this issue. Here’s what I sent:

Hello Everyone,

I want to personally invite you to our Children’s Ministry Training this Sunday, from 12:30 – 1:30pm. I know you are busy. That’s why we only do two trainings a year. We want to be respectful of your time.

We believe it is important to get together at these times for three reasons:

1.) To connect. It’s easy in the hustle and bustle of life and ministry to get so busy that we don’t have a chance to connect with each other. Getting together to have lunch with one another helps us to build stronger relationships as a team.

2.) To learn. At this Sunday’s training you’ll learn some important tips that will help you in the event of an emergency on our campus during one of our Sunday morning services. You’ll also receive some great tips that will help you as you lead the children in your ministry to find and follow Jesus.

3.) To give feedback. We value each and every one of you. Our ministry could not function without you. We want to hear from you how we can improve our ministry to the families in our church and to you. There are always things we can do better. We want to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with us.

We’ll be meeting in Room 3/4 in Building B this Sunday from 12:30 – 1:30pm. Let us know if we can provide childcare you.

Hope to see you there!

After I send the above email we started to get more and more RSVPs. That Sunday we had half of our volunteers attend our training. It turned out to be one of our funnest, most productive trainings together.

We as ministry leaders know the importance of gathering our volunteer teams together for the purposes of equipping, but we don’t always do a great job of communicating why these equipping times are important.

The best way to get more volunteers to attend your meetings is to give them a compelling reason why they should come and communicate it as often as possible.

Sometimes we feel like they should just know it like we know it, but most of the time they won’t. We live and breathe our ministries. We work day in and day out to help them grow and thrive.

But most of our volunteers aren’t as committed or as passionate about the ministry as we are. And that’s OK. It’s our calling. It’s our job. They have other responsibilities and obligations on top of their service on our teams. That’s why we need to remind them of why these gatherings are meaningful.

Don’t just tell them where and when it is; tell them WHY it is. When you do that, and deliver on your promise, more of your volunteers will come to your trainings and they’ll begin to spread the word about how awesome the time together was, motivating others on your team to come too.

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