I don’t believe there is a church on planet earth that has all the volunteers they need (no matter how big it may be); at least I’ve never heard of one, or been in one.

Many of the volunteers we do have are ill equipped, very tired and ready to take a break or flat out quit!

Here are some practical ideas (in no particular order) on how to keep volunteers motivated, encouraged and well-rested, while at the same time trying to enlist new ones.

1.  Share with them the church’s Purpose/Values/Vision and near term objectives. I believe it motivates people to know they are part of a bigger picture and how they fit into that picture.

2.  Put them in areas that match their passion, gifts and capacity. Shoot for gift-based, not need-based responsibilities. Start with who they are, not what you need at the moment. When people are not operating in their area of strength and passion they get tired much more quickly; emotionally and physically.

3.  Share how their role contributes to the bigger picture?” People want to know how their job is contributing to the vision of the church or organization. People want their lives to matter, not to just fill a role or slot.

4.  Provide clarity on: Job description, authority and expectations. People want clarity. I don’t believe most people desire or appreciate ambiguity. What exactly are they supposed to do? Get as specific as possible. They don’t carry a crystals ball in their back pockets so as to know what you’re expecting and would like to see…tell them! Also, provide clarity on what authority you’re giving them to make certain decisions and which ones you want to make.

5.  Put resources and tools in their hands to help them succeed. Give them all the things they need that you can afford so as to help them be successful in their role.

6.  Offer initial and ongoing training to be the best they can be. Offer initial training when someone steps into a new role. As they continue in that role, provide ongoing training so they can increase their skill set(s) and do excellent work in a timely fashion.

7.  Keep people informed by communicating well and often. We simply don’t communicate enough. Better to over-communicate than to under-communicate. Nothing will kill morale faster than people feeling they just don’t know what’s going on, or why decisions are being made the way they are, or why something is changing.

8.  Have them set some measurable, specific goal in light of their  job descriptions, expectations and bestowed authority. Encourage them to dream and create some stretching (but not insane) goals within specific time-frames. It provides a track for them to run on and can be the basis for evaluating how they are doing and as well as offering encouragement.

9.  Encourage  them regularly:  I’ve never met a person who felt they were encouraged too much. (Proverb 11:25) A pat on the back goes a lot further than a kick in the pants!

10.  Ask them how they’re doing and how their family is doing. Show genuine interest in the individual’s personal and family life. They need and want to know that you truly care about them as a person, not just about their work.

11.  Ask them if their current role is the best fit. Ask once a month or so if what they’re doing is still a good fit for them. Is it too much, too little or just right? Seasons in life change and it shows genuine love by asking about their job fit and current capacity to continue to do it well.

12.  Confront when necessary don’t let poor performance slip by with nothing said. Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15) Not saying anything is telling others that sloppy work and poor work habits are acceptable.