Why Your People Aren't Volunteering

If you ask any pastor or ministry leader in America if they need more volunteers it is a very safe bet that the answer will be a resounding YES! We need youth interns, we need nursery workers, we need more greeters, we need parking lot attendants, we need light administrative helps. We need more volunteers.

The hard truth is that most ministry rises and falls on the amount of people that volunteer and serve. You HAVE to get people to grab ahold of the vision and run with it so that you can have a true and consistent impact.

Over the next few blogs I’ll give FIVE REASONS that people aren’t volunteering at your church.

At the end of this ‘blog series’ I will share some ideas that you might incorporate into your volunteer system.


​Blurbs in the bulletin and ten second quips from the pulpit during announcements will not a great volunteer force make. People will volunteer for what they believe in, but if we don’t give them something to believe in most people will be content to just attend and not invest.

Look at your volunteer system and find out how the ones you already have got there. More than likely the majority are somehow connected to a leader in the church that has spent time communicating vision. This might have just been done over coffee or in a friendly conversation, but most of your solid current volunteers are there because they believe in what the church is doing.

Find ways to make this happen on a broader scale. People are drawn to people and vision, not sign up tables with volunteer sheets.


How many of you like working a job where you don’t really know what you’re supposed to be doing?

Neither do your volunteers!

To gain and retain volunteers you need clear communication not only of the vision, but the practical side of what each volunteer will be doing. Here’s some simple questions to consider.

  1. What’s my job description or what’s expected?
  2. Who do I answer/report to?
  3. What’s the schedule?
  4. When are training times?

If you are scared to tell them the answers (especially to #1) before they volunteer maybe you need to think about whether you’re asking too much of them. I’ve seen, and been the cause of, many volunteers burning out because what I was asking from them was much more than what they were able to give.

If you are building your volunteer base from the ground up, learn how to work with more of a ‘skeleton crew’ and give people a Sunday off instead of having every base covered every service and end up burning people out. For example, depending on the set up of your worship center you might have some of your indoor door greeters serve double duty as section greeters with people alternating weeks instead of having one person serve every week in that area.

You will have people that have no problem serving in the same area every week…but never assume you do.


Do your volunteers know how much you appreciate them? This is a simple and very overlooked aspect of leading people that serve in your ministry.

The power of thanksgiving cannot be underestimated. No one, including you, wants to give and give and just stay unrecognized. Only selfish leaders that think their volunteers are more humble than Moses would think that.

There doesn’t need to be a banquet held in their honor. Thanks doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it does need to be two things: 1) Regular & 2) Intentional.

Find ways to thank your volunteers on purpose and on a consistent basis. A text from their leader. A hand written card. A genuine ‘thank you’ before church.

Stay tuned for the next blog with some more possible reasons you don’t have volunteers and some simple suggestions to increase your volunteer base.​


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