The other day I bumped into an old friend at Starbucks.
My friend was overseeing the KidMin program at a new church and he asked if I could meet with him.
Then he made this statement, “We are burning through a lot of volunteers.”
If you are burning through volunteers then it tells you that your volunteers are not having a pleasant experience.
The only way to find out what is going on is to ask them what their experience was like.
Several years ago, I asked my good friend Jim Wideman if I could follow him around on a Sunday morning.
I was hurting for volunteers. Jim is known as the Volunteer Guru so I thought I could learn something by just tagging along and watching him.
To my surprise what Jim did was incredibly simple. He just walked around and talked with people. He didn’t do any work. He didn’t even talk about spiritual things. He talked about Alabama football and good barbeque.
What Jim did do was he made people feel good about themselves, so they wanted to be around him. I thought to myself, “I can do this.”
Volunteering is, by definition, a leisure time activity.
People can only engage in volunteering when they are not at a paying job.
Our competition when we recruit is not paid employment; it’s whatever the person does in her free time.
So the choice we’re asking people to make is whether to volunteer at church or play golf, see a movie, or just plain rest.
Do people need more work in their lives or more play?
Should we be using guilt to persuade people they “ought” to serve others or rallying everyone around a mutual benefit opportunity?
Fun is not the only thing volunteers are looking for, but if they aren’t having fun they don’t hang around for very long.
Yes, what we do for the Kingdom has eternal consequences, but it’s okay with God if we have fun while we serve.
You need to create an atmosphere that people want to be around. It’s not that complicated. If people are learning, having fun and feeling like they are contributing they will hang around. If not, they will leave.
How do you make serving at church fun for your volunteers?