Generally, staff are the catalysts and budgets are the fuel for ministry. It doesn’t matter whether a church has a lot of these or not, it takes volunteers to make church happen.
But, there has to be a deeper calling to volunteer than just making church happen. Like stewardship, volunteering or serving is a matter of discipleship. It is an important part of becoming more and more like Christ.
For even the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life for many. Mark 10:45
Discipleship has to be the anchor for building a volunteer system. Anything less is too small, temporary, and insignificant. You have to start here.
As we help churches build on this foundation, we’ve discovered a few areas that are often missing and hinder their ability to execute an effective system for volunteers. Here are three.
First, write down your process. Last week’s blog covered the seven steps of a volunteer system. These steps are the process from a project management perspective. Another way to look at it is through the lens of the individuals involved.
As you can see, I’ve embedded the seven steps into this illustration. It’s a simple way to be crystal clear on the process as you communicate it. You probably have some sort of ad hoc way of doing this now. Likely, each staff person has a slightly different approach. Bring your team together to white board the ideal process and then write it down so everyone understands it and is aligned.
Second, write down your conversations. If you read last week’s blog post, I referenced keeping notes on important conversations throughout the whole process. This reminds the note-taker and lets the rest of the team in on important aspects of the prospect, volunteer, or team member’s unique discipleship service journey. It also provides a natural opportunity to schedule a follow-up task for yourself or anyone on the team.
Third, keep your data in the same place. Keeping the conversations with prospects in one place, tracking their training consistency in another place, and scheduling their service in another place keeps your data from working together. It becomes extremely difficult to track the effectiveness of your volunteer system when parts of it are in different places. This might take a little discipline and teamwork to figure out, but it’s worth it.
It is one thing to have a great team in place and plenty of resources, but to optimize the use of both, you need to build a great volunteer system. This ensures that you are finding the right people at the right time and helping them find the right place to serve and become more and more like Jesus.