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An Answer to the Volunteer Predicament

By Bob D’Ambrosio


How can I “get more volunteers.” Church leaders continue to ask what they can say or do to convince people to serve. What are the best recruitment methods? How do I get more people to say yes?

Inspiring people for volunteer service requires more than a new sales pitch.  Activating people into the life of the church involves making changes to the foundation—the culture. Culture is the soil that prepares people for service involvement.

Oddly, while churches struggle to find volunteers, volunteerism overall in our country has held its own.  Volunteering is actually very popular right now. It’s become the standard for corporate America, from Chick-fil-A to Walmart, from Target to IBM.

David Abney, CEO of United Parcel Service, has announced that their company has pledged 20 million hours of global volunteerism and community service by the end of 2020. He stated, “Volunteerism has always been an integral part of our company culture.”

“Part of our company culture.”

Culture is the key to raising the level of volunteer involvement.  Does your church culture invite people to serve?

Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Remove barriers. Are there barriers that keep people at your church from volunteering? If you require membership, age limits, degrees, or other mandatory actions, you may be closing the door to potential volunteers. Give people opportunities for involvement while they are in the process of fulfilling any position requirements.
  2. Create on-ramps. People today are looking for short-term volunteer opportunities. Does your church provide them? Is it possible to observe a service role before signing up? Easy on-ramps give people a taste for serving, which can lead to longer ministry commitments.
  3. Find the right match. Do you have the right person in the right role at the right time for the right reason? When we match people to the right position, it creates a place where people serve with joy. And a joy-filled volunteer is the best way to get more people on board.

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An Answer to the Volunteer Predicament

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