As a pastor, your job isn’t to do all the ministry; it’s to equip people to do the work of the ministry.

But just because someone is serving in a volunteer role doesn't mean they are doing a great job.  Your volunteers need direction, appreciation, and clarity.

Here are four things you should clarify for every single volunteer who serves at your church.

#1 – What’s the point?

This is a question about vision.

Volunteers need to understand why they do what they do. They need to know why it matters. They need to understand what’s at stake.

And as a word of caution, they may not be able to connect their role to the deep sense of purpose.  You can have a grand mission of making disciples, but it's hard to connect the dots between that and standing at a door on Sunday.  That's why communicating a deep sense of why AND a current and tangible mission are really important.  Read more on that here.

#2 – What am I supposed to do?

This is a quesiton about expecations.

Vision alone is not enough. Volunteers need to know exactly what to do and what’s expected. Too many volunteers are serving under the weight of uncommunicated expectations. Be honest about how much prep time is required and what meetings are required. The best volunteers have clear and communicated goals.

#3 – Who has my back?

This is a question about people.

If you want healthy volunteers, make sure they have plenty of opportunities to connect with leaders and other volunteers. Studies, observation, and common sense have shown us people stay engaged in a task much longer and with a much better attitude if they are completing tasks with friends.  Your volunteers should enjoy serving with their friends.

#4 – Where do I go if there’s a problem?

This is a question about communication.

Don’t busy people up with training meetings, but make sure each volunteer has enough information to do their job well. And make sure they are connected with a go-to-person for questions and circumstances.  It doesn't have to be the Senior Pastor (in fact, it probably shouldn't be).

What’s the best way to communicate this information? I’m glad you asked.

Every volunteer in your church should have a very simple and clear job description. Yes, an actual job description written on an actual sheet of paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be clear. If you haven’t already done this, take the next couple of weeks and write a simple job description for every volunteer in your church. Include things like:

  • The name of the position (duh)
  • A one-sentence vision statement for the role
  • The time requirements
  • Three or four bullet points that describe the position
  • Point of contact, including phone and email address

If you are a Church Fuel member, you'll find dozens of samples and templates in the Resource Library.  You can quickly customize these to fit your church and it will go a long way toward creating clarity among all of your volunteers.