8 Things You Can Do to Double Your Volunteer Roster
I’ve served in two mega-churches in media leadership roles where we have doubled and tripled the number of consistent volunteers serving in production. I don’t say this to brag, I say this to encourage you. In an area that has a stereotype of being full of “behind the scenes, introverted, nerds”, having a thriving culture of tons of volunteers can be done at your church.
Here are several things you can do to not only get new volunteers, but keep the ones you have serving on a consistent basis. I’ve also written individual blog posts on each of these ideas, to flesh each one out in more detail. I’ll put a link to each post below.
1. Pastor First, Tech Second.
This is the secret sauce. You have to care more about the people that serve than the button they push. Be open about this- LOVE them with words and action. Pastor them! A good litmus test- if the only time you hang out with your volunteers is on Sunday, you need to reevaluate your calendar. There is no substitute for pastoring. It takes work, but it should be your top priority. They have to know you care about them more as a person than what they do on your team.
I talk more about this in my post:
2. Create a simple, clear On-Ramp for New Volunteers.
Do you have a system in place, that your co-workers and all your volunteers know, that it’s clear how new volunteers get onto your team? Have a clear on-ramp for your new serves so that everyone who is interested in your team gets followed up with and no one falls through the cracks.
More on how to do this in this blog post:
3. Have a Clear Organizational Chart of your team.
This doesn’t have to be anything too fancy or formal, but a clear on-paper structure of your media staff team, core volunteer leaders, and volunteer teams is good for people to know and be aware of. It’s good for people to know who’s in charge and where they need to go for direction and instruction.
I flesh this out more in my post:
4. Provide Consistent Training Opportunities for New Volunteers and Veterans.
You must provide “non-Sunday morning” training opportunities for your team. You can’t practice free throws during the middle of a basketball game. Do you think the middle of a baseball game is the time you should be teaching someone how to swing a bat? Of course not. You have to find a way to train your people on the gear and give them practice in executing a service in a “non-stress, you can mess up and it’s not then end of the world” type environment. You need to provide consistent training for new volunteers as well as cross-training opportunities for your veteran volunteers.
Learn more about how you can do this in my blog post:
5. Provide an Easy-to-Understand Rotation where your volunteers know when they serve.
If it’s clearly communicated when volunteers are scheduled to serve, they’ll be there. Rarely you’ll have someone forget or get sick, but most of the time, if someone doesn’t show up or doesn’t serve often, you should take a look at your system to make sure it’s clear and it’s been over-communicated to the team.
Read more about this topic here:
6. Teach Your Team your Processes and Systems over and over.
You may have it in your mind how your systems and processes for things in your ministry work, but if it’s only in your brain, then your whole ministry is based on you being there. Wouldn’t it be great to go on vacation, serve in another ministry area on Sunday, or go home on a weeknight and activities in your ministry run without you there? It can be done. Your systems and processes have to be put on paper and taught to not only your core leaders, but all your volunteers – over and over. They need to get tired of hearing how new volunteers join your team. They need to get tired of hearing how new volunteers are trained. They should get tired of hearing about the vision of your team and why your team exists. Every volunteer should be able to point people to their next step on your team.
I give more detail on how to do this here:
7. Create an Exciting Culture.
Is your control room dark and boring? Between services are people off to themselves playing on their phones and not talking to each other? This was the case when I first came to Newspring. I knew it was on me and our staff team to change that. Outside our control room was our tool bench filled with unorganized junk. We moved it to the other side of the space we had. We had a volunteer donate two couches, we stole (I mean “repurposed”) comfy chairs that were not being used in other parts of the building. We installed a TV on the wall with a feed of the service, we added a countertop, refrigerator, microwave, dining table, and more. We put snacks, drinks, board games, cards, candy and other things in this space. We called it “P.H.Q. = Production Headquarters”. What other things would make people want to be a part of your community? What about team events? A team Facebook group? Small Groups?
8. Raise Up and Empower Leaders.
You can’t do it all. And you don’t need to. I struggled with this. It’s easy to get in the trap of thinking, “if I work myself out of a job then I won’t have a job”. Wrong. You are going to be incredibly valuable to your church or ministry by working yourself out of as many jobs as you possibly can. This goes back to creating an Organizational Chart, providing training, and teaching your team your systems – it’s your job to create opportunities for people to use their gifts and be there from a staff level if they need anything. It’s good to note here that there shouldn’t be any piece of your job a volunteer couldn’t do. Everything from directing a service, training new people, planning events, holding meetings… everything can be a volunteer role. You need to focus your time on creating opportunities and doing the things that only you can do.
I’ve written two other blog posts on this topic:
Do these 8 things and you’ll see your volunteer numbers explode. You’ll also see growth in your current volunteers, both in executing a service and in their relationship with Christ.
What other ideas have worked for you to double your volunteer roster?
Creative Director / Owner
[twelve:thirty]media | Columbia, SC
Carl Barnhill has served on staff at some of the largest churches and organizations in the country. He served as Media Director at Precept Ministries International, directing the television and radio program Precepts for Life with Kay Arthur, broadcasted to over 98 million homes around the world. He served as Video Production Director at Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS, where he produced media content for four campuses, as well as led volunteer teams.
He most recently served as Video Coordinator for Newspring Church in South Carolina. Newspring has 10 campuses across the state with a weekly attendance of over 35,000. At one campus alone, the number of consistent volunteers serving in media production tripled, under his leadership.
He currently serves as Creative Director and Owner of [twelve:thirty]media, a company that serves churches and ministries all over the world through motion graphics content and church media coaching.