How to Turn Attendees into Ministry Volunteers

There is probably one idea as elusive as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in church ministry — how do we equip and empower more volunteers to get involved in the life and mission of our church?

According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of the people church do 80% of the work. This suggests that only 20% of church attendees are actively involved from week to week. What’s more, it means 80% of your congregation is waiting to find a way to get plugged in! Before you have your next ministry fair, here are three questions to consider as you work to turn church attendees into ministry volunteers:

1. Is it easy for attendees to plug in?

Many times we are so eager to enlist new volunteers in ministry we forget to create a clear path for them get started. Don’t make integrating them into the schedule or training more work than it should be — for yourself or your volunteers. Think about onboarding as a pipeline and start at the beginning: write down all the things one needs to know to volunteer in your ministry. Do they need background checks? Is there required training? Are there some roles in the ministry that might be good “entry level” opportunities for them to get a taste of the responsibilities without throwing them in the deep end right away? Write down all the steps, and make sure everything that’s needed is in place to easily onboard volunteers. Ensure they know exactly what they need to do — and by when — to participate. Consider posting a volunteer enrollment form to your website so volunteers can fill it out and get integrated into your volunteer scheduling system.

2. Who do existing volunteers already know?

Encouraging current volunteers to invite a friend who isn’t already involved in ministry at the church is a great way to get more congregants involved. Challenge your existing volunteers to invite one or two people to serve alongside them over the course of the year. People are more likely to come on the arm of a friend or by personal invite than by responding to a public posting for more volunteers, such as in the bulletin or in the Sunday announcements at church.

3. Is there a way we can get the whole family involved?

Have you considered asking the parents who already attend the service when their children are scheduled to take up a role at the same time? Tapping parents who already have a stake in the ministry at the church where their children serve is a great way to get the whole family involved. While the worry of conflicting ministry schedules may have kept some family members from serving, there are software solutions available, such as Ministry Scheduler Pro’s auto-scheduler, that make it easy to ensure that families are always scheduled together at the same service.

This is just the beginning of how you can encourage more volunteers to get involved in the life of your church — and many of you likely have some ideas of your own. Pay it forward! Leave a comment below with one way you’ve found useful to invite and excite your attendees to get more involved with volunteering.