5 Ways to Grow Volunteers Spiritually
Serving culture is needed to run the church, but you also want to ensure that your church body is experiencing healthy growth. More important than just filling open positions in your volunteer teams, these teams and roles need to be engaging, challenging, and growing volunteers to ultimately make more disciples. You must be intentional about the role of serving in your church as a means of spiritual growth. Here are five strategies to implement to grow volunteers spiritually and make sure your teams are fruitful.
1. Uncover Gifts
We can do what we are good at, or we can do that which fills our heart. Someone can be good at plugging in names on a schedule because of an organizational or occupational skill. However, our volunteers work best in positions that lean less on skill and focus more on spiritual giftings. Spiritual giftings are inspired, natural talents that a person has that go beyond their regular skillset.
If you get someone operating in their gifting for the church, then their passions become infectious and they inspire and motivate others to do the same, leading to a healthy, growing church! Discover your volunteers’ spiritual gifts through assessments. Conduct these assessments in an intro class, team onboarding process, or make them available online as a free resource.
2. Know Their Heart
What makes a person loyal and keep coming back is when they feel known, loved, and appreciated. They might spend their week at work or at home dealing with feeling neglected or unappreciated. People come to church for freedom from that. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t let our volunteers just do their jobs and leave. If they leave feeling even more overlooked, you not only risk losing a team member, but also losing them as a church member.
Get to know your volunteers and their passions. What do they enjoy? What lights them up? Established team members and leaders can have conversations with these new people or even long-time volunteers that seem stagnant or drained.
3. Create Open & Clear Opportunities
After you’ve determined their spiritual gifts and know their heart, you can combine those into areas where they can serve that will utilize their gift and stir up their passion. After all, God loves a cheerful giver! Volunteers will be more energized and passionate when they have found their serve team sweet spot.
To empower your next steps or connection teams, create a resource that has a “menu” of areas to serve matched with gifts and descriptions. This makes volunteer opportunities clear to our team. Remember: we don’t know if someone is interested if they don’t ask, but a person can’t ask if they don’t know something exists! Explain this resource during a class or one-on-one meeting as discussed above.
4. Empower Exploration
Relationships with these new team members will need to be built and that comes with time. Until then, a new team member might possibly not be enjoying the place they signed up to serve. That doesn’t help anyone and you are back at the beginning where the person won’t grow spiritually. Out of guilt or embarrassment, a volunteer might not say anything. But, by staying, they risk burnout, no-shows, or avoiding church just to avoid confrontation.
Create a safety net for all involved in the process of finding the right spot for someone to serve by creating a shadowing process. One with placement, a trial period, and follow-up. It takes away confrontation if someone wants to leave a team and allows space for a different expectation of all involved.
5. Cultivate Culture
Once a serve team member has found their place, create a place where they get discipled to, coached, and learn how to disciple to others on the team. That is ultimately the call as Christians to go and make disciples of all nations. This is why it is so important that we implement ways to grow the volunteers we have.
We do that best in small groups during the week but, when it comes to Sunday and volunteers, the Sunday team can behave as a small group too. This can be done with prayer or update huddles prior to serve time. This can also be done with hangouts as a team outside of Sunday service to build the connection by being in a group of likeminded Christians as a support and accountability system.
When we grow volunteers spiritually, we set a fertile ground to teach and engage people to learn how to serve others in leadership like Jesus did. In turn, we take the focus off ourselves to allow God to work. Now that’s a healthy, growing church!