We all know that volunteers are the lifeblood of any church. If churches had to pay each of their children’s ministry teachers, small group leaders, women’s and men’s ministry leaders, and vacation bible school teachers, they’d be up a creek, fast. Some churches keep their staff incredibly lean and rely predominantly on volunteers while other churches have more robust staff members and fewer volunteers; either way, volunteers need to be screened, training, and thanked. Below are five resources aimed at helping your church lean in to the volunteer management process.

Resource #1

Article: Smiling is Not Enough: The Top 10 Mistakes Your Volunteers Make When Welcoming Guests at Church on ChurchCentral.com

The article goes on to list ten mistakes that often occur at churches. These are my top four favorites, having personally experienced these.

#2   Volunteers  are talking with friends and don’t notice me.
#5   Volunteers don’t know where the most pertinent information is located.
#8   Volunteers are unaware of the basic “how to” questions for checking-in children of every age.
#9   Volunteers don’t introduce me to others at the church.

Resource #2

Free ebook (click link to download):  “The Challenge of Leading Volunteers” written by church software leader, Church Community Builder

The thought of a church without volunteers is scary. Most of the responsibilities within our churches are handled by people who don’t draw a paycheck. Yet, there seems to be a constant tension brewing from an often unmanaged dichotomy within most congregations: those who are volunteers and those being served by volunteers. Church leaders invest a large amount of time trying to move people from the served group to the volunteer group. This puts the focus on those who aren’t volunteering. However, volunteers are people too. They should be the intended focus of the overall ministry of any church. Volunteers are engaged the same way any other person is engaged in church—through relationships.”

The ebook includes the following chapters: Volunteers Are An Opportunity, Not An Aggravation, The Challenges Of Leading Volunteers, Seven Ways To Boost Volunteer Engagement, Making A Volunteer System Work In Your Church, Keeping Volunteers Engaged, Healthy Volunteers Are Consistent With A Healthy Ministry.

Resource #3

Church Volunteers: An Oxymoron on Christianity Today’s Hermeneutics Website by Michelle Van Loon

Excerpt: The chart helped with some of these issues, but it provided a snapshot of another issue we were facing: There were all sorts of empty slots. As in many growing churches, we were always searching for more children’s ministry workers, janitors, and sound tech assistants. Those of us on staff dedicated ourselves to find ways to recruit and retain people to fill those slots on the org chart. We held volunteer fairs. We regularly encouraged volunteers to share their stories of spiritual growth as a result of serving the church. We committed ourselves to honoring hard-working volunteers with small gestures of staff appreciation throughout the year.

But our approach to filling those empty slots left me uncomfortable. It seemed to be something sour and a little cynical about our underlying assumptions. We had appropriated the paradigm of a nonprofit organization in order to find a way to function as a growing church. And when we viewed fellow congregants as volunteers, we subtly emphasized what they could do over against who they were as members of the body of Christ. I wondered if we were unintentionally building a culture where “our volunteers” were our blue-collar laborers, doing tasks assigned by us, the white-collar staff.”

Resource #4

ChurchTechToday Volunteer Articles

We’ve written quite a bit on church volunteers over the years, and two of our most recent (and most highly ranked) articles deal with thanking your volunteers and what not to expect of your volunteers:

7 Free (or nearly free) Ways to Bless Your Volunteers

10 Things you Can’t Expect from Church Volunteers

Resource #5

Volunteer-focused website by Group Publishing: Church Volunteer Central

This website aims to help guide you, according to your role. Whether you’re a recruiter, a trainer, a leader, or a church staff member, you can find helpful articles and advice related specifically to what you do related to the church. From background checks, to recruiting, to training, to retention, to gifting, to leadership development, Group has done an amazing job with this site to empower the church with free resources.

There you have it, five awesome resources to help you prepare to refine, retool, or retain your church volunteer system.