Get Your Church Members Involved: 7 Ways to Draw Volunteers into Ministry

No matter the church size, location or denomination, ministry leaders everywhere have one major question: how do I get my members more involved?

Volunteers are the fuel to every church’s fire. If every member viewed church life as a spectator sport, the kingdom wouldn’t grow and the church community wouldn’t flourish. Part of being a ministry leader is mobilizing the flock and drawing more and more volunteers into service until every church member is contributing.

Here are seven ways to encourage service in your church:

 1. Raise Your Expectations and Promote Your Vision

Make sure your church members know it’s not just about showing up every Sunday – it’s about personally committing to furthering the church’s ministry. The church needs attendance and giving, but it also needs active service. Emphasizing this creates a culture where service isn’t an “extra” but an expected part of membership.

Also, tell them why their service matters. Share a vision for what your church could accomplish with a larger staff of volunteers. Encourage members to see the bigger picture and how they can personally make it a reality.


2. Share Specific Needs to Encourage Excitement 

Don’t say “we need a few hands over in the children’s ministry!” Say “we need a fun, energetic kindergarten Sunday School teacher who likes Play-Doh and music!” Don’t say “we need more greeters!” Say “we need friendly, welcoming faces who can hand out bulletins and help newcomers find a seat!” Get specific with what’s expected in every role – it’s going to make for interested, excited volunteers.


3. Personally Ask the Individual

Announcing volunteer openings from the pulpit or the bulletin is one thing – asking an individual directly is another. As a ministry leader, when you see how a church member’s strengths could help, don’t hesitate and don’t hint around. Be straightforward: “I hear you’re experienced in sound and video editing. Would you like to help edit our promotional Easter video?”

When you challenge your church members to serve, you’re imitating how Jesus recruited His own disciples. A personal invitation is a powerful motivator.


4. Streamline the Sign-Up Process

When your prospective volunteers get the urge to serve, don’t make them do all of the leg work. Have a streamlined sign-up process in place, whether at your church’s welcome desk or even online. Take advantage of volunteer interest right away – don’t make them keep emailing and calling in order to find out what they can do.


5. Establish Structure and Guidance for Your Volunteer Program

Once volunteers are invited and they’ve responded to the call, don’t leave them to figure out what to do on their own. Volunteers need guidance – they need a plan. Whether it’s you, another staff member or an experienced volunteer, make sure every ministry has a clear leadership structure and volunteers have the resources and the direction they need to succeed.

6. Introduce Short-Term Volunteer Opportunities

Sometimes church members don’t know where their skills and interests fit best. Make sure you offer plenty of short-term volunteer opportunities that allow members to explore a number of roles. If you force an immediate six-month commitment on a member who isn’t even sure they fit with a certain ministry, you’re discouraging continued engagement.

7. Offer Training and Leadership Classes

Most importantly, invest time in your volunteer teams. You could offer a leadership class for your volunteers where you and your church staff share what you know about creating a loving, service-focused environment. You can teach them how to resolve conflict and how to recruit other volunteers. Give them the tools they need to succeed in their roles so they feel supported as you all work towards the mission together.


Your church’s vision is important. So are your members. Active service is not only beneficial for your church goals and your community, it’s also beneficial for the individual. By encouraging engagement in your church, you’re encouraging a brand of involved, hands-on faith that keeps each member close to each other and close to God.

4 thoughts on “Get Your Church Members Involved: 7 Ways to Draw Volunteers into Ministry

  1. The information is true and applicable only that it depends on the kind of community the church is located for example in Africa m our of people are living below poverty level where by when you engage them in the ministry some of them think in terms of payments .So in such areas which advice do you give me .


    • Excellent question, Patrick. You’re right–our blog is geared toward North American churches, so I can’t offer specific advice on how to draw more volunteers in African churches. But I know some people who could answer that and I’ll check with them.


    • Patrick, I heard back from a pastor serving in Zambia, Africa–he knows the cultures as well as anyone can as he was born and raised there. Here’s what he had to say:

      “Great conversation indeed ,let me chip in by saying the points captured universally applicable principles of raising volunteers in ministry obviously with a little contextual slant.

      The basis for engagement in any form ministry in Africa has emphasis on calling .The long held view of calling has abandon, sacrifice, volunteerism…Servanthood as core values at the center of definition. In fact many people leave well paying jobs to enter ministry not to seek a vocation but serve voluntarily. There are are many leaders who are personally known to me in our network who went to serve for over 10 years in ministry without visible financial rewards .That said, volunteerism is key asset to African church viability and it is not a big issue to raise.

      At issue though, is to curb abuse that often comes with this space , ranging from unrewarded labour where means are available 2. demanding financial rewards where volunteerism can be secured as a place of rich spiritual formation 3. Exertion of entitlement .

      Another issue is sustaining high peak volunteerism with a staying power in a culture that lacks rootedness, we are a people who live and do life in sense of traffic we are in transit, Therefore , the points shared [in the blog post] are handy in building a healthy volunteer culture.

      I think a great balance is path to take, a non-structured volunteer space breeds abuse and dishonor, a too tightly structured volunteer space stifles a free flow and worship centered volunteerism,

      The trend is changing however , with exhibitionistic lifestyle in churches….What’s in it for me syndrome is a big growing worry in the African church.”


  2. Pingback: 8 Effective Church Growth Strategies to Try This Year | Partners in ministry

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