As a pastor, your job isn’t to do all the ministry; it’s to equip people to do the work of the ministry. A healthy volunteer ministry often leads to a healthy church. Here are four things you should clarify for every single volunteer who serves at your church.

#1 – What’s the point? (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. It doesn’t take a long list of bullet points to accomplish this – just sum it up in a sentence.

#2 – What am I supposed to do? (Expectations) 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. Some of the best volunteers have clear and communicated goals.

#3 – Who has my back? (Community) 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.

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

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 our four bullet points that describe the position
  • Point of contact, including phone and email address

And for some further inspiration, here’s a great sample.

So What's Next?

How do you take the stuff in this post and put legs on it? From someone who used to be a pastor and church planter, I know it can be frustrating to implement.

We know you care deeply about leading a healthy growing church because it means leading more people to Jesus. Leading volunteers is an integral part of that process so everyone can spend time on what they're best at. As a result we created a free guide to leading volunteers that will bring clarity and help begin to alleviate your frustrations.

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