Need Church Volunteers?

Having trouble getting people to “step up to the plate” to serve in the church? Let’s get something really clear….they rarely do! So we need to find another way to engage people in ministry. God didn’t wait for people to come (or even make general pulpit announcements)…God called people to come. By name. Moses, Mary, Gideon, Samuel, Noah, Jonah, Isaiah, Esther, Paul, the disciples. For each one God said, “Come…follow me.” Burning bushes, Jesus Christ, still small voices in the night, angels, and through other people. Other people? Yes! We can play that role today in the church for all those folks just waiting to hear “Come…follow me” (whether they realize it or not) to help those in need or greet newcomers to the faith or visit the shut-ins or teach the fourth graders.

It helps to have an intentional way or process of inviting people to serve. At The LOGOS Ministry, we’ve developed one that we teach church leaders to use. And it works. Here are the basics:

  • Help people recognize that God calls people to very broad roles (to be a “covenant people” and to be faithful followers of Christ) as well as a call to use specific gifts in a specific way.
  • Find ways for those in your church to discover and understand their specific gifts.
  • Establish a team that will go through intentional steps to implement this process of call (Call Team).
  • Call Team spends time in prayer and study of scripture to invite God into the process.
  • Call Team creates a description for each position that needs to be filled (tasks and expectations, term of service, spiritual gifts needed, personality fit, support and resources provided) and then prays over it.
  • Call Team spends time on their own considering names for specific position descriptions and continues praying (but not asking yet!).
  • Call Team meets again to consider names for each position (how well each person matches the gifts and talents needed, how will the church benefit and be blessed by each individual serving in this role, how will each person benefit and be blessed by serving in this role) and through prayer and discernment seeks one name.
  • Someone on the Call Team extends the invitation…face to face…not through an email or passing in the hallway at church on a busy Sunday morning…and gives the person time to talk to and listen to God (and other people) about the call.
  • Someone on the Call Team follows up 3-5 days later to hear the answer and accepts and celebrates a “no” as readily as a “yes” assuming time has been spent in discernment.

That’s a brief summary of the call process and must always be followed by a commitment to equip our volunteers once they have answered the call to serve. LOGOS offers an entire workshop on the process of call for those interested in learning more. Please contact Liz Perraud at lizperraud@thelogosministry.org

Is there a difference between inviting individual people to serve God in ministry and recruiting anyone to fill a slot? What has been your experience in the church?

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9 Responses to Need Church Volunteers?

  1. Richard says:

    This is a very simple and yet profound concept that has been lost in many congregations. So often, the approach has been to make announcements much like the ones we ignored in the mornings while in high school. God is intentional and we should be also. I find great encouragement and excitement at the very thought that we can go to God and seek His guidance, and with intent, go out and make disciples.

  2. lizperraud says:

    Richard…great analogy to the morning announcements in school! So true!

  3. I actually have been experiencing some difficulties recruiting volunteers for my children’s ministry programs, particularly the most recent round of vacation Bible school that I was the head of. I only wish that I had read this blog post sooner! Thank you so much for sharing some really great ideas that I hadn’t thought of before.

  4. Richard says:

    I was thinking about the idea that we need to follow such an approach as described in Logos, because the call needs to be understood as coming from the one person that has the authority to call us to serve. That person is God. If people can see that there is a call from God, it is harder to just dismiss it. They still have a the ability to choose, but God’s call is compelling.

  5. Shante says:

    My experience within my congregation is that the opportunity to serve has always been open to anyone who wishes to answer the call. It’s all about making the request known to the pastor. Within my congregation the problem is that same people volunteers all the time. I can remember maintaining 3 positions within the church. This does not have to happen because there are so many gifted people within our congregation. Many say they don’t have the time. Where is the commitment in serving God? It takes me back to a recent blog “Having a Christ Centered Life” making God first.

  6. Curtis says:

    I found this discussion on the call team one of the most helpful discussions at the LOGOS training event I attended. It is amazing to think about how we fill spots in the church through recruiting and possibly even guilt. How freeing to view this approach with God first.

  7. Liz Perraud says:

    For sure! And certainly to apply for more than “just” children and youth ministry. This process should be applied to all areas of the church, don’t you think?

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