As a former Preschool Minister, I know how vital volunteers are. I remember saying that if I ever left the local church ministry, I’d be one of the best volunteers ever and I would be ready to step up to the plate to serve.
I was wrong.
I’ve been reminded how hard volunteering can be and that, indeed, there are times I don’t want to join a team. This has been eye-opening, on a personal as well as a ministry basis. I wonder what I might have been guilty of during my ministry and where my heart is now that I’m not being paid to be at church every Sunday.
There really are some legitimate reasons for not volunteering. Sometimes it’s the minister’s fault, sometimes the volunteer’s, and other times it’s nobody’s fault. Here are a few of the reasons that have come to mind.
Track Record of Leader Asking. If the minister has a reputation of having no vision, a lack of passion for ministry, being ungrateful, and disorganized, volunteers are not going to be knocking down the door to serve.
Be sure that you share your vision and how it fits into the overall mission of the church. Show appreciation often to your volunteers. Drop by the classroom and say hi on Sunday mornings or send them a note every now and then. Everything counts! And very important—do your best not to complain! (At least not publicly!)
Lack of Training Offered. Have you ever been thrown into a classroom with no direction? I have. It’s not fun.
The days of weekly or even monthly training meetings are long gone. With today’s busy schedules, find unique ways to train your leaders. Consider alternative methods of training. Use technology—Media Grid, social media, email, links to podcasts, blogs, and the like can fill the gap in getting your teachers trained.
Feeling Overused and Burned Out. We’ve all done it. We find a fantastic volunteer and we ask them to do everything. But if you start asking people to serve in areas outside their giftedness, they’ll burn out and won’t want to do anything. Discover the passion of your volunteer and keep them in that lane. Ensure that your leaders have opportunities to worship and attend small group activities of their own.
Personal obligations. And then, sometimes, people just can’t serve. Try not to take it personally. Life gets in the way. Things happen. And it’s not really a no – it’s just “not now.” Give your volunteers a break when needed. When they have a passion for ministry, they’ll come back. And be even better when they do!
So, if you’re struggling with your volunteer base, know that you’re not alone. Take a look, make some changes, and keep up the good fight. Remember God’s promise in Philippians 4:19: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Blessings friends!
Klista Storts serves as an Editor for Lifeway Kids. Before coming to Lifeway, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.