Have you ever wondered where you are going to get all of the volunteers you need in your ministry? If you are leading a volunteer workforce, you are in good company. The US Department of Labor reported that this past year (ending September) that there were 62.8 million people that were actively volunteering in some organization. These people came from all walks of life, all economic classes, some college, some not, all races, both genders, young and old.
On average they spent about 52 hours in the past year volunteering, or about one hour a week.
While you may not remember all these numbers, remember the “one-hour a week.” Many churches have embraced “Worship one; Serve one” as a challenge to all of their members, engaging each one of them in a worship service and a serving opportunity, both likely about one hour a week.
We know that people volunteer for a variety of reasons. These range from identification with the values and mission of the organization and wanting to help, to a desire to get to know other people, make friends and find common interests. Regardless of the reasons given, our churches advance their mission when people identify with our mission and our calling. Identifying the Great Commandment (to love one another) and the Great Commission (to make disciples of all nations) as our mission creates great opportunities for people to serve, make a difference and grow in their faith. Remember, people have opportunities to serve in all kinds of organizations but only the church can give them the opportunity to fulfill the mission Jesus gave His followers.
What is interesting also about one hour is that studies have shown that in about an hour, the average volunteer can be fully trained to perform the job for which they are assigned. The church jobs that volunteers fill range from some simple jobs like handing out the weekly bulletin or folding chairs to more complex tasks like making hospital rounds, supervising a nursery or mentoring inner-city youths.
What is unfortunate is that all too often, we don’t give these volunteers the one-hour of training that they need. This is unfortunate because the church is one big volunteer-run organization. Since the day of Pentecost, the vast majority of the leaders in the Church have been volunteers. Volunteers provide the invitation, the hospitality, the teaching, the training, the development and also the governance of most churches.
When training is inadequate, volunteers don’t get the opportunity to fully understand the importance of their role. Without proper training they can’t lead and without leadership the mission suffers.
Fortunately the best people to do the training are volunteers. We just need to give them the opportunity and let them know it is a priority; let them find the one-hour to train. Let them lead….62.8 million can’t be wrong.
Ken Behr is an executive pastor at Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. www.gochristfellowship.com