Almost every church depends on members who volunteer their time and energies. All are willing to serve. However, for most, their time is precious. They want to feel a sense of satisfaction after they have given it. As leaders who manage, plan, and organize events, we know this. Here are 10 ways we can show it:
- First and most importantly, pray for your volunteers. Ask specifically that their service honors God and is an example of the body of Christ working together in partnership.
- Plan purposeful meetings. Provide an agenda that clearly spells out the goals you want to achieve. Kindly, but firmly, keep the discussion on task. Ask someone to keep track of unrelated topics that come up and deal with them as soon as you can after the meeting.
- Be organized whenever volunteers are present. Have all the materials ready before they arrive or ask a volunteer to assist you with preparation.
- Create clear expectations and clearly communicate them to your volunteers. Invite questions and ask if providing instructions in writing would be helpful. If so, follow up.
- Make time commitments and stick to them. This includes preparation time, any meetings, and both starting and ending dates. For example, VBS volunteers should get a copy of the pre-event meeting schedule, the time expectations during the week of VBS, and information about any post-event responsibilities. Avoid surprising your volunteers!
- Always get volunteers started on meaningful tasks as soon as they arrive. If the work you had planned for them is already done or no longer necessary, call ahead to let them know that. Don’t disappoint volunteers who show up ready to work by telling them you have nothing for them to do.
- Let your volunteers know how grateful you are for their work. Tell them often how much you appreciate the time they donate and the effort they expend. They need to know their gift of time is appreciated. Send a hand-written note, give a small gift, or speak specific words acknowledging specific service.
- Listen to concerns. Challenges will inevitably arise. Be there for your volunteers and work with them to find solutions.
- Make sure volunteers have an opportunity to evaluate the event or ministry in which they are involved. They serve on the front lines, and this makes their perspective and insight invaluable. Use what you learn from them as a guide for future planning.
- Have a party! Celebrate what the Lord has done through your volunteers. Nothing says thank you like a party.
Blessings to you as you use these tips to create a community where your volunteers’ gifts, especially the time they give, is celebrated!
Editor’s note: CTA makes helpful tools and many thank-you gifts available to help you express appreciation to volunteers. Several of these are free and downloadable. Check them out on our website.
Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.