While 70% of volunteers at faith-based organizations will continue to serve from one year to the next, they are susceptible to burn-out. One of the main reasons volunteers stop serving is due to a lack of connection or passion for their current ministry.
The success of churches hinges on the strength and passion of volunteers. Unfortunately, volunteers burn out. So what can you do to energize your volunteer staff and keep the passion alive?
1. Care for your volunteers.
Let them know their service is appreciated. Send a card or text when you know they had an especially tough week as a volunteer.
2. Pray with your volunteers before each service.
No matter how busy you are before the service begins, make sure to set a time to pray together.
3. Provide stability, structure and planning.
Give them a schedule and plenty of time to plan for their volunteer service. Don’t catch them as they walk in the door and ask them to serve. This will work for a while, but will eventually cause your volunteers to dread walking through the door because they don’t know what is on the other side.
4. Focus on what motivates your volunteers.
They’re not in it for the money! They aren’t motivated by the same things as employees are so you can’t treat them like employees. Focus on principles like serving others, building the kingdom, making visitors feel comfortable, removing distractions and making it easy for guests to have a god experience.
5. Recognize volunteers come with different capabilities.
Find out each one’s capacity and give them appropriate opportunities to serve. A spiritual gifts class can really help in this area.
6. Let your volunteers pick a ministry they can be passionate about.
It goes without saying, people are more motivated by things they are passionate about.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to serve.
The one you never expected will usually surprise you.
8. When change happens (and it will), give your volunteers time to process and absorb the change.
Allow them to ask questions. If your church changes the color of your volunteer lanyards or shirts, it may cause some people to grieve. Allow them to go through their stages of grief.
9. Let them know they are valued.
As an example, send postcards on a regular basis to let the volunteer know their service is appreciated—especially if the volunteer stepped in on short notice to fill a need.
10. Recognize and reward volunteers in front of others.
Follow the motto: “Praise in public; confront in private.”
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