10 Volunteer Ministry Scheduling Resolutions

With a new year underway, it’s a great time to stop and evaluate how to improve the ministry programs at your church. It’s easy to get stuck in routines and fail to see underdeveloped areas that might benefit from extra attention. Start by evaluating every area of volunteer ministry, from regular communication to onboarding, to see where your volunteer programs could be stronger. Consider some of the following 10 resolutions to determine how to improve your volunteer ministry programs this year.

1. Communicate

Ensure that your group communication channels are streamlined and effective this year.

Take a look at past communication methods with volunteers. Try to identify what has worked well and what hasn’t. Not enough connection between volunteers? Consider starting a newsletter. Are there too many people emailing volunteers? Try funneling communication through one person so they can consolidate information. Are there too many last-minute announcements or updates? Implement a program or church-wide calendar so volunteers and ministry leaders can set dates for upcoming events and communicate with volunteers accordingly.

2. Ask

Establish a method for asking church members to volunteer.

Is there information throughout your church to make volunteering easy? If not, identify new methods and places to share volunteer opportunities. Is there an enrollment form available for volunteers to complete and submit to begin the process? If not, create one so that ministry leaders have a clear first step to invite volunteers to complete, making the ask much easier and more effective.

3. Train

Create an effective training program that empowers volunteers to fulfill the duties of their role with confidence.

Identify ways that your training programs could improve. Do you have an individual to oversee training? If not, consider designating someone to own that process. Do you have job descriptions, training materials, and scheduled training sessions? If not, consider developing these to create a predictable flow to your volunteer onboarding process which will help engage new volunteers and remove much of the confusion around helping them learn.

4. Help

Determine if there are enough support systems in place for when volunteers need additional help.

Is it clear who a volunteer should contact with questions? If not, identify someone who would best field questions for that ministry and ensure their name, email address, and phone number are available and easy to find. Do you have a mentorship program in place to allow experienced ministry volunteers to support new ones? If not, ask if this would be feasible and beneficial for those serving in your church ministries.

5. Prepare

Formulate a process to move through transitions, from leadership changes to program alterations.

Is there a clear way to provide interim support during a time of transition? If not, outline a process that could be consistently applied during common periods of transition. Is your volunteer ministry program ready for the unexpected? Create backup plans for the types of unexpected events that often arise, such as leadership illness, weather-related events, and more, to ensure that volunteers have a clear method for continuing to serve during times of uncertainty. Change is common in ministry, as it is anywhere else, so create a plan to help volunteers work through it.

6. Connect

Invest in ways to increase the connection among volunteers at your church.

Do volunteers know each other well? If not, consider establishing events where they can meet. Training events, holiday events, or even volunteer appreciation events are all excellent ways to get ministry volunteers in the same room. Allow volunteers to enjoy one of the greatest benefits of volunteering: a sense of community.

7. Collaborate

Generate opportunities for volunteers to work together to strengthen ministry programs by sharing ideas and experiences.

Do the ministries at your church have a planning team made up of volunteers? If not, consider establishing one and using their insights and energy to fuel ministry growth. Are there regularly scheduled meetings for volunteers to share ideas and experiences? If not, set dates on your church calendar where volunteers can come together to share insights, ideas, and work through challenges together.

8. Invite

Determine ways that individuals can become volunteers and current volunteers can move into new roles.

Is there a clear way for volunteers to invite others to join them? If not, communicate the best way for volunteers to invite others. How are volunteers moved into new roles? Through nomination? Can they simply volunteer? Is training required? Ensure that a path to each role is clearly outlined so that ministry volunteers never have to feel stagnant in their ministry roles.

9. Excite

Create a way to keep volunteers excited and engaged about their ministries.

Do you offer regular methods for volunteers to give feedback? If not, set up a feedback box or create a survey you can easily link to in regular communication. Is there a way to celebrate volunteers who go above and beyond to move ministries forward? If not, establish a method to do so and celebrate those who help strengthen the ministry through their excitement and energy.

10. Reflect

Identify times to reflect to ensure the volunteer programs continue to grow.

Set a date on the calendar, invite others to share their thoughts and ideas, and be sure to prioritize time to reflect on where your volunteer ministries have been and where they’re going.

Whether you oversee ministry scheduling, work as a pastor or priest, or fill one of the many important ministry volunteer roles in the church, taking time to evaluate how to improve the volunteer programs in your parish is an important first step to ensuring that your programs are strong, sustainable, and rewarding for all involved.