The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
MATTHEW 25:40 (NIV)
Volunteering can be one of the most impactful forms of outreach your church can invest your resources in; helping to meet the needs of people in your community and around the world. Volunteer projects can be quite diverse and may consist of a one-time act of service or may be a more long-term project spread over multiple days, weeks, month or even years. Striving to engage your congregation in some form of service is a common goal among most churches.
How do we empower the members of our organization to invest of themselves for the good of others? The points shared below may be a way to adopt the principles of service and engage your church in the goal of volunteering.
COMMUNICATE – share your needs
In order to build a group of volunteers, there has to be communication of opportunity, instructions, and expectations within the service project. Having people sign up for events and then be reminded about the timeline and programming is a great way to streamline information and communicate the needs of the project.
GraceBase’s text reminders and group updates are dynamic tools, created to reach out to church members to get them involved and keep them informed. When people have a clear picture of what they’ll be participating in and how they can share in having a positive impact on their community, it naturally follows that more members are engaged to meet the needs.
PROVIDE OPTIONS – personalize
Through providing options, you can personalize a volunteer experience based on individual passion, schedule availability and with the community of volunteers in mind. Coordinating a variety of opportunities for people to be involved in and working off of their strengths allows for a new kind of volunteering experience.
ADD VALUE – convenience, fun, outreach
When someone signs up to volunteer they are donating more than the task that they will perform, but also their time, knowledge and personal responsibility to complete that job. Let’s make sure to multiply those gifts through being a good steward of scheduling, communications, organization of the event and supplying the resources necessary to bring the project to a successful completion.
Time is one of the most cherished things on the planet; because with time, you can never pay it back. That is why, when you have a group that donates their time, make sure to add value. Have a lesson, group photo, discussion or team building topic associated with the service so that individuals can walk away with a tangible gift, new or deepened relationship and a heart for future service.
SHOW APPRECIATION – recognition
A simple thank you can go far in engaging your congregation and rallying ongoing commitment. Although the purpose of the volunteer is not one of acquiring praise and recognition, acknowledgement of some kind can be a wonderful way to encourage one another. Several really great ideas that you can use to engage your congregation and celebrate their work include:
- planning some organized volunteer-appreciation activities, particularly if you have a large volunteer corps (example: luncheon, site-visit, video creation, etc)
- holding an annual volunteer party
- inviting volunteers to your nonprofit’s other events, such as a holiday party, lecture, or annual dinner
- recognition of some kind at events to thank specific volunteers for all they’ve done for your organization, and accompanying this with awards, certificates, or small plaques.
Volunteering and engagement are not an exact science, but through using the tools and resources mentioned in this blog and many others, you may find the formula that works best with your church to build your volunteer force and impact your community! Just remember the importance of effective communication, providing options and value, and showing appreciation while crafting your service opportunities.
Ignite a passion for service and celebrate with those who will go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus along the way! Inspire your congregation to be volunteer-minded, mission-minded, and great things will come from it!