Summer Serve // Surprise and Delight!

Many churches across the country have discovered that summer time is a perfect time for getting people plugged into community through service. This week we’re exploring what a “Summer Serve Campaign” could look like in your church

So you’ve got hundreds of new volunteers signed up ready to serve . . . now what?

Now comes the really hard part!  Making sure they have a great experience serving! You’ve got to remember that these people don’t normally serve at your church and so you need to work overtime to make sure they enjoy the experience.  (Remember the goal is to get them to come back and serve in the fall . . . not just fill in over the summer!)  Mike Leahy is our master of the service teams here at Liquid.  He has crafted a great serving experience with lots of surprise and delight sprinkled in!  Some pieces to highlight are:

  • Over-communicate.  Immediately after they sign up we send them a confirmation email.  The Tuesday before they serve for the first time they get an email with a link to a video from their campus pastor showing them where to check in on Sunday. 
    Then on the Thursday before they get an email from their team leader . . . reminding them again.
  • Host them. We make sure that our team leaders work extra hard to get the people relationally connected with other team members … introduce them around and make sure that they are “known”.
  • Brief and Debrief. When they arrive we have a bit of  “pre game briefing” time . . . telling them about what the expect.  But then we also have an exit “debrief” where their team leader finds out about what they experienced . . . and hands them an “appointment card” (like the ones they hand out at the dentist) that reminds them of their next serving Sunday.
  • Volunteer Party. We also hosted a volunteer thank you party over the summer . . . complete with a great bbq by our pastors, bouncy castles for kids, music and more!  As an added bonus we invited all the summer serve volunteers to this event.  Because of the way the calendar landed . . . some of the summer serve volunteers came to the thank you party before they even served!
  • Follow up. The team leaders wrote out personal thank you notes to each Summer Serve participants and we made sure that they were dropped in the  mail on the Monday after they served.  Plus they received a follow up email from their campus pastor with a link to a survey about their experience.

Of course from there we ended up asking them to join a team come the fall! It was a natural ask because they had come out a few times . . . got to meet a few new friends . . . and felt appreciated.  Each of our teams did end up added volunteers last year . . . but one of the pieces I am excited about this year is to try to increase the percentage of people who end up joining a team during the regular season.

What makes a great serving experience in your church? I’d love to learn how you surprise and delight your volunteers. [Leave a comment or two now.]

Next week we’re going to be talking about the next campus we’re launching here at Liquid . . . and what we are doing different from the last campus we launched.  I’d love to hear from your experience if you are church planter or multisite maven!

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