Office Hours: Volunteer Recruiting Best Practices & Reaching New People

Welcome to this month’s Office Hours episode. This month Rich is taking on your questions about building volunteer teams, and reaching people who might not normally attend your services.

Leslie Moffat, administrative pastor, Celebration Church in Brantford, Ontario, Canada:

“For churches with multiple services, do you recommend the same volunteers stay on for the entire morning and cover both services, or do you have two different teams?”

  • Volunteers and growth. // Churches grow because people invite their friends. When you get more people plugged into volunteering, that ultimately leads to more people coming to your church and getting plugged in long term. In fact attendance levels are typically three times the number of volunteers you have.
  • Attend one/serve one. // A best practice for volunteers is letting them attend one service and serve at another one. This helps create balance so that a small group of people aren’t doing a large amount of the work. Attend one/serve one values your volunteers and keeps them plugged into the community, especially if they are serving in kids ministry.
  • One in three rotation. // The best practice for serving rotations is for volunteers to serve one week and then being off for two weeks. The exception may be small group leaders in kids ministry which may need high consistency and are better serving every week or every other week. A three-week rotation for other positions in the church is easier than serving once a month when some months have four weeks and others five.
  • WIIFM? // What’s in it for me? When communicating about volunteering, don’t communicate your need but rather communicate how the people in your church will benefit from volunteering. Don’t use the word “we” when writing about volunteering, always use the word “you.”
  • Talk with groups. // The best volunteer recruiting tool is the shoulder tap. Look at existing small groups you can visit, and sit down to talk about the opportunities that could benefit them. Talk in a relational context, not an obligatory one, and you’ll see a better return rate. Create fun social times to let people at the church connect and enjoy themselves, and you can give a short talk about the vision of the church and getting plugged in.

Jeff Peters, executive director, La Croix Church in Missouri:

“How do we reach new people in our community who aren’t going to attend a worship service, either in the building or online? Also how do we build a more robust leadership pipeline that isn’t so staff-centric.”

  • Increase the invite culture. // The way our churches grow is when our people invite their friends. We should look for ways to increase the invite culture, and not just on a Sunday. Churches can hold programs such as Financial Peace University to engage people looking for practical help in their lives. You could also offer Alpha, which brings people together to watch a video, talk about faith, and have a meal together.
  • Go out to serve others. // Instead of telling people to “come and see” what your church is about, go out and serve the community. Look for regular opportunities to help make a difference in your community and get it on the calendar. Have the cash available in your budget for addressing problems that arise and consistently get out into your community.
  • Leadership book club. // Start a small leadership book club which can help develop the leaders in an organic way. You can start out leading the book club, but then encourage one of the others to lead it in the next round.
  • Campus expansion. // Think about launching a new campus to develop a robust leadership pipeline and volunteers.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

If you are trying to find, develop and keep young leaders on your team look no further than Leadership Pathway. They have worked with hundreds of churches, and have interviewed thousands of candidates over the past several years. They are offering a new ebook about five of the core competencies that are at the heart of the leadership development process with every church that they partner with…just go to leadershippathway.org/unseminary to pick up this free resource.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.