10 Things That Make a Healthy Church Volunteer Culture

Volunteering in the church is an opportunity for growth, giving, and Godliness.

Grant Glas
July 20, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

Why Volunteer Appreciation Is a Must

Volunteering in the church is an opportunity for growth, giving, and Godliness. Most people do it at least once in their lives, so why do some churches struggle to maintain their volunteers?

For higher rates of volunteer retention, commit to a healthy church volunteer culture by doing these ten things.

1. Strong Communication

Communicating with church leaders and volunteers

Far too many church volunteers say they had to deal with feeling lost and confused in the early days of their role. For those who have stepped out of their comfort zone just to be there, bad communication could be enough to send them running a mile. 

Strong communication is essential for a healthy volunteer culture, so let them know who to contact if they have any issues before they even start. You could even make a group chat with all the new starters and a team leader as an easy way to air our queries.

2. Offer Guidance

Offering guidance to volunteers

Don’t expect your new church workers to know exactly what they are doing – show them! Before you complain about how a volunteer messed up or made a mistake, think about how clear your instructions were. 

Being open to questions will ensure your volunteers turn to you before they mess up. Guide them in the early days, and it will pay off in the long run. Build a confident and assured team that you can trust when things get tough.

3. Training Opportunities

Traninging a young vounteer

Show your volunteers that you care about their personal development by offering training opportunities that appeal to them. In addition to their onboarding training, why not provide some more skilled training programs?

Ministry Grid is a central hub with countless volunteer training opportunities on an online portal. Giving your church volunteers access to something like this empowers them to nourish their passion and learn as much as they want.

4. Room for Growth

Church music group volunteer

Create mobility within the church volunteer system to reward dedicated workers. Someone who has started as a Sunday greeter but has shown drive and commitment will appreciate the opportunity to progress to something more challenging.

Keep an eye on your volunteers to identify potential volunteer leaders. Anyone can be a volunteer, but some people are better equipped than others to thrive in church leadership roles. Read our blog to learn more about volunteer leaders and how to spot them.

5. Fun Social Events

Fun social, church music event

Encourage your volunteers to intermingle and get to know each other by throwing fun events designed specifically for them. Workers who build a rapport and trust in one another will work better as a team and feel happier doing so.

And giving your hardworking team the space to relax and unwind lets them know you genuinely care. Go the extra mile to boost volunteer morale to increase their satisfaction with the position tenfold.

6. Asking for Feedback

Having an ‘open mailbox’ policy for any feedback is one thing. Actively seeking it is another. Prioritize the opinions of your volunteers by asking for their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on a regular basis.

While one-on-one meetings are generally preferred, it could be as simple as a survey with the space for a comment underneath. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming project, just the chance for some honest feedback.

7. Church Leadership

Church leaders discussing culture

The culture of a workplace typically begins with the leaders. They set the standard of work quality, push the work ethic, and generally set the scene for any newbies. Every person contributes to a culture, but leaders pioneer it with good volunteer management.

Smart Church Leadership lists 14 essential qualities of a strong church leader, but the list could be endless. Put the work in to train yourself and become the best leader you can be for your community of people.

8. Volunteer Appreciation

Whether or not your volunteers feel appreciated will make or break the culture at your church. It could be as simple as saying thank you once a day. If your workers notice and value the thought, it will inspire them to do more for your church.

There are countless ways to get creative with church volunteer appreciation, from home-baked goods and thoughtful gifts to a shout-out on social media. Give thanks to the people who dedicate themselves to your church. 

9. Shared Vision

Church coming together on a shared vision

Morale is boosted when everyone is on the same page and working towards the same central mission. So make your church’s vision a central part of the employee onboarding process so they know exactly what your church is about.

Dan Reiland, a Pastor’s coach, highlights that a strong vision can also motivate people into action. When your volunteer pool feels inspired by the project at hand and compelled to be a part of the mission, they will be more likely to commit. 

10. Consistency Over Time 

It’s called a culture for a reason. The everyday goings-on at your church contribute to the overall system and decide whether your church volunteers will be satisfied or frustrated, fulfilled or hopeless. So choose to create a supportive and caring environment of trust.

Make sure you pour the same energy into your volunteer culture week-in and week-out to keep it consistent. The good news is that the culture will maintain itself once you have trained enough employees accordingly.

Church volunteering can teach people huge amounts about themselves and their communities. Cultivate an environment in your church that supports and values its volunteers for a healthy volunteer culture that attracts hardworking individuals.

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