Volunteering in church benefits members of the congregation and the church itself.
Church volunteers perform tasks that staff members do not have the capacity or skills to accomplish. They use their time and talents for community service, fulfilling their desire to help others while ensuring the local church can direct more funds to its mission.
In short, volunteers are vital to a healthy church. But how do you build up and manage your church’s volunteer base?
In this article, we’ll show you how to get started with church volunteering, covering:
- 8 types of church volunteer opportunities
- Who your church volunteers are, and what they need to succeed
- How to build a church volunteer base
8 Types of Church Volunteering Opportunities
There are several strategies you can use to grow your church, including building up youth programs, hosting community events, setting up virtual services, utilizing online and mobile giving, and more. Include your church volunteers in these strategies!
The type of volunteers your church needs depends on the skills and capacity of your paid staff, as well as your priorities (more on that below).
There are 8 major types of church volunteers:
1. Church board
Board members for nonprofits, including churches, volunteer their time, talents, and resources for the good of the mission they serve. Church board members support and connect the church with the congregation. It’s a big commitment!
The volunteers who make up your church board should already be dedicated members of your church. Ideally, they have been actively involved for many years.
In addition, look for church members who have experiences and backgrounds that will be beneficial to the church and its growth, including finance, marketing, human resources, fundraising, IT, and more. These are people who also help create outreach ministries to support the community and find other ministry volunteers.
Finally, consider an individual’s ability to give when it comes to building your board. While they don’t need to donate large amounts, it is smart to discuss the importance of tithing with potential board members.
2. Worship team
Each service brings a plethora of volunteer positions to serve that are ideal for those who regularly attend worship.
Greeters welcome people to worship, especially newcomers. They offer smiles, hand out programs, and share information during prayer meetings. This is a great job for a family!
Ushers are a vital part of worship, finding seats for new church members, passing offering plates during Sunday morning services, assisting with communion, and more. Simply put, they make your church service take place smoothly.
Those who want to take an active role in sharing the word of God can be scripture readers during the service.
And what is a church service without music? Opportunities for musicians in your congregation include soloists, a praise band, youth and adult choirs, and more.
Pro tip: Mobile giving is an ideal method to collect offerings during service as it encourages donating in the moment, even if your members don’t have cash on hand. Encourage ushers and other worship team volunteers to promote your text-to-give campaigns, and train them to assist members as needed.
3. Sunday school/child care team
many churches offer Sunday school classes and/or child care. These are great ways to get people involved, especially those who enjoy sharing their faith with younger generations.
Teachers are needed to lead lessons and activities. These volunteers must dedicate quite a bit of time, as they will need to be present for classes and spend a couple of hours each week in preparation.
Teacher’s assistants help where needed, especially with young children or those in a nursery. This is an excellent opportunity for high school and college students volunteering in the church, or for adults who cannot dedicate time as a teacher.
You could also start a planning crew for those who aren’t available during class times. They can stuff Easter eggs for a hunt, prepare materials for an art project, or organize equipment for a game. This volunteer opportunity is especially important for hosting fundraising events at your church.
Invite volunteers to take part in these important roles, provide them with the necessary training, and help them get involved.
4. Technology gurus
Virtual church services are becoming increasingly preferred by members around the world. If you’re expanding your technology, whether with the addition of a virtual service or by simply improving sound and lighting during in-person services, there are many volunteer roles available. Ask those gifted with tech-savviness to run your soundboard, lights, PowerPoint slides, and cameras.
You may also have members who are graphic designers, photographers, or social media marketers. Recruit them to create promotional pieces, capture the beauty of your church, and assist with spreading the word.
5. Office assistants
Office tasks are perfect for volunteers available on weekdays and could include folding programs or bulletins, sending letters, answering phones, inputting offline donation data, and more. Choose an online tool that makes storing data and managing donor/donation data simple and quick for your office assistants.
Usually, online fundraising tools will have a donor management system to help ease the process. Train your volunteers well to use the tool. This will ensure consistency across all data and future volunteers will have no difficulty finding them when needed. Donorbox lets you add communication notes to donor records; you can manage your donors, segment them for a personalized approach, track important moments, and more on the tool.
6. Special event/holiday volunteers
If you have members who want to volunteer but can’t make a regular commitment, ask them to assist during extra busy times.
Form planning teams for special events like trivia nights, Sunday school plays, and vacation Bible school. Bring in day-of volunteers to assist with everything from set-up and tear-down to registration.
And when you have a holiday coming up, make sure to let your congregation know you’ll be needing more ushers and greeters than usual.
Pro tip: Help your volunteers manage your events, sold tickets, and purchasers’ information on an online event ticketing tool. This makes tracking and managing a breeze. Donorbox Events makes ticket buying and event registration even easier. It only takes a few minutes to set up an event page and start selling tickets – another potential volunteer task. Plus, you can add unlimited ticket levels, and easily determine the tax-deductibility of each level by inputting fair-market value and the tax rate. All your sold tickets, purchaser’s details, and donation information (yes, your attendees can also make a donation from the event page!) will be in one place.
The following is a good example of a local church using a simple event page and the ticketing form to sell tickets to their wine tasting fundraiser event.
7. Mission leaders
Your church likely offers opportunities to give to missions outside of your own. These may include a food drive, a Star Tree for holiday gifts, or a crowdfunding campaign to benefit a mission trip. Church leaders can be effective in roles like this.
Ask organized and passionate church leaders to take on the details of planning and executing a mission (with guidance), and have them recruit their own volunteers to assist.
8. Pastoral care assistants
These volunteers join pastors on visits to those unable to attend services, make phone calls to check in on grieving families, and more, offering a friendly face and kind words.
Church volunteers can fall into many different categories. The more opportunities you can offer in various areas, the more you can accomplish as a church! This Donorbox blog will help you engage and motivate your volunteers to better play to their strengths.
Church Volunteers and What They Need to Succeed
Before the pandemic, the average American church could count on about 44 percent of their regular attendees to volunteer at least once a month. As of this year, that number has dropped to 34 percent.
In order to succeed in their missions, churches need to get these numbers back up – starting first with membership and then with volunteers. But the best way to recruit volunteers is not to focus on your church’s needs. Instead, focus on the talents of your members and how they can use those talents to make a difference.
Look first to those who regularly attend worship and are passionate about their faith. Volunteering in the church is ideal for those of all ages, backgrounds, talents, and experiences.
To succeed, volunteers need to see that their efforts will make an impact. They also need to know their options and get involved. And they need flexibility – they are more likely to volunteer if they can choose when, how, and how often. The best way to achieve this is to have a church volunteer program.
A church volunteer program will ensure how volunteers are selected, what they’ll need immediately after they’re onboarded, any training and education on the mission of the church, and how to guide them further. Your volunteers need to feel empowered. Provide them with tools and training. Let new ushers shadow others, and make lesson plans for teachers.
Pro tip: Host a volunteer class! This class can serve two purposes – informing interested volunteers about opportunities and providing training to those who have already signed up. This class can as well be a part of your church volunteer program and will improve your volunteer efforts.
How to Build a Church Volunteer Base
We’ve shared types of opportunities as well as details on who your volunteers are – but how do you capture that 44 percent of your congregation? The below tips will help you find new volunteers and fit them effectively into new opportunities at the church.
1. Create a list
List out your current opportunities, as well as areas where you could add new volunteers. Make sure your list includes a variety of volunteer roles – keep in mind different skills, levels of time commitment, age requirements, and availability throughout the week.
Pro tip: List your volunteer opportunities in order of importance. This way, you’ll know which roles need to be filled first – these roles should be the focus of your outreach.
2. Form a volunteer committee
Form a volunteer subcommittee on your board. This committee can be tasked with developing the list of opportunities and finding members who may best fit those roles. Hold regular board meetings at your church office to go through the list and determine which candidates can fit which roles. Your church leader can help run these meetings and keep track of important notes and decisions.
3. Reach out to volunteers personally
It is often best to have someone speak to prospective volunteers one-on-one. This will make them feel hand-picked and more likely to commit.
Ideally, this task should be assigned to different people based on the volunteer position. Current board members should reach out to potential members. The education director can call those who may be good teachers. And ask your pastor to contact those who could help in worship or as a pastoral care assistant.
4. Speak about volunteering during worship
When is the best time to reach your congregation? In worship! Share current and upcoming volunteer opportunities each week, whether printed in the program, displayed on a screen, or through a quick message during the service.
Also, talk to your pastor about planning a service dedicated to volunteerism. Include a sermon focused on volunteer needs and the importance of giving one’s time and talents and have volunteers speak about personal experiences.
Pro tip: Set up information and sign-up sheets directly outside the worship space. Be sure to have current volunteers on hand to answer questions!
5. Post volunteer information
Get the word out there! Add information about your volunteer opportunities to your website. Post flyers and sign-up sheets to a volunteer bulletin board. And share any opportunities via a blog and your social media channels.
The Bible calls Christians to serve in God’s name by using their talents to benefit others.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
When you share this message with your congregation, paired with a varied offering of opportunities, you empower them to give their time and skills by volunteering in the church.
Looking for more church fundraising, growth, and marketing tips? Visit our Nonprofit Blog!
Thousands of churches across the globe have chosen Donorbox as their online fundraising tool to raise more funds, manage donors, and make giving easy for their congregation. Learn more about how Donorbox helps churches in this short video here. Know about our unique feature, QuickDonate – a simple-to-use and quick solution for repeat donations to your church.
Donorbox features are user-friendly and quick to set up. Learn more here.