Setting Expectations for Volunteers

The key to happy volunteers who work hard is no secret. If they know what their position entails, how to do it, and feel appreciated while doing it, your church volunteers will feel fulfilled while giving back. Clear communication goes a long way when creating an open and supportive environment for your volunteers.

Chris Holland
May 28, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

Set clear expectations with your new volunteers to ensure that you are all on the same page. Ideally, they should know the requirements before they apply for the position. Then, tell them again after starting, and once more over a follow-up to see how well they are doing after a few weeks. Investing resources in your new workers is well worth the trouble, as a strong team of volunteers will help your ministry run smoothly.

Do you want successful volunteers at your church? Follow these six tips to make sure your ministry volunteers thrive. 

Outline the Job Description

Discussing job description with volunteer

Create different positions for your ministry volunteers, so there is an opportunity for them to embrace their individual skills and use them for good. There is a wide range of jobs at a church, from welcome and parking team to kids’ storyteller and activity leader. And each job requires different skills. Clearly outline the role when recruiting volunteers for church so that they can apply for a job that is of genuine interest to them.

Add these church volunteer job descriptions to your postings and get more appropriate applicants. Attracting people who want to do a specific role means they will bring more energy and a better attitude to it. Blanket volunteer positions where workers move around to different jobs often and have little stability often end badly. Just like everyone, volunteers need to know where they stand.

Clear Position Requirements

Reviewing position requirements

Upon starting the role, it's time to lay down the law with your new volunteers. Keep the position requirements simple enough to write down in concise bullet points and clear enough for the volunteer to remember with ease. You can even ask them what their responsibilities are after the first day is complete to make sure they remember.

Nobody likes that feeling of being at a new job with no idea where you’re meant to be. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and often creates more trouble than help! So, set up the conditions for your new workers to know exactly where they should be, what they should be doing, and how they should be doing it. Obviously, there will be mistakes at first – just make sure it's not because of your bad instructions.

Mentoring and Training

Training your volunteers

Give your new workers a smooth transition into how your ministry is run by setting up a mentoring system. Make sure each of your volunteers has a dedicated person they can ask if they have any problems or questions, especially in those first few weeks. Settling into a new role can be difficult, and this system will make life easier for your team.

Offer opportunities for your volunteers to improve their skills throughout their time working at your ministry. Cultivating a successful team is beneficial for the ministry and the volunteers too. When they feel appreciated and valued, they will repay with hard work. So, offer them volunteer training that will help them throughout their lives.

Feedback Opportunities

Getting feedback from your leader

Use regular check-ins to see how they are settling into the role to highlight any expectations they may have missed. This is particularly important in the first few weeks to ensure they have fulfilled all elements of their role. Plus, it provides a necessary chance for your volunteers to let you know if anything is not working for them.

If a worker or volunteer is out of their depth or overwhelmed with their workload, it is essential that you know. It falls within the church leadership roles and responsibilities to communicate clearly with the volunteers and make sure that they are happy with how the position is going. Host regular meetings to keep a close eye on your workers.

Semi-Regular Evaluations

Evaluating work with your mentor

Simple performance reviews are effective when keeping track of how your volunteers are doing in a tangible way that provides quantitative data. Checklists are a useful tool when conducting standardized testing. Use them to check how well your volunteers' skills align with the role, ensuring that they are the right fit for the job.

Why not offer them a checklist to fill out on how well the ministry has been performing, too? This will highlight any gaps in the ministry and screen for any signs of bad leadership, keeping your church thriving. Remember that feedback is a two-way street, and the purpose of these meetings is not to keep an eagle eye on your team.

Good Church Leadership

Church leadership team

The most important way to ensure you manage your volunteers’ expectations is by prioritizing good church leadership. When this is taken care of, the rest should fall into place. With strong leadership comes open communication channels, constructive feedback, guidance, training, and mentorship.

Showing appreciation for your volunteers is another central pillar of good leadership. Create an atmosphere of kindness and gratitude for your workers by giving gifts, sharing thank you notes, acknowledging hard work, and celebrating achievements. 

Church volunteering can be an eye-opening, mind-expanding experience for the people of your community. When given the proper support and training, they can give back to their church and people while gaining invaluable skills and life experience. Just make sure your expectations match up to theirs to ensure everyone is on the same page.

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