What are the Key Steps Needed to Build an Army of Volunteers in Your Church? Part Two

With the new year quickly approaching do you have an established and proven process for developing an army of volunteers to serve in every ministry in your church?

Are you preparing people to serve way ahead of time or are you waiting to the last-minute to beg someone to fill the empty positions?

Are you working a handful of people to death because you don’t have enough volunteers to fill the needs of each ministry in your church?

Would you like to start a new ministry in 2016 but can’t because your volunteer pool is too shallow?

I believe this is a common problem. Let me ask you, do you have about 20% of your congregation doing 80% of the work? If so your ministry is normal because that seems to be the national average. A whole book was written about this problem. Click here to get your copy.

What would you say are the essential ingredients needed to develop a strong army of volunteers in your church?

Last week we considered evaluation tools to help you select the right people for your different ministries. Today we will consider three more key ingredients to help you build your army of volunteers. 


How do you introduce people to your ministries?

How do you invite them to join your volunteer staff?

How do you challenge and motivate people to invest themselves in one or two of your ministries?

Do you have a system for enrolling them in a ministry, then leading and managing them while they serve, along with a clear path for their exit when they are ready to leave? I would imagine this would be a welcome feature to those serving in your ministries along with those that have yet to serve.


How do you prepare your congregation to serve?

Do you just throw them into the deep end of the pool and hope they can swim?

John Maxwell teaches a four step process to equip people for a particular ministry. Here it is.

  • Step One: Have them observe you performing the task.
  • Step Two: Have them join you and observe you performing the task.
  • Step Three: Have them join you and they perform the task.
  • Step Four: Have them perform the task by themselves and you observe.

The four steps may need to be applied differently depending on the person you are training and the task to which you assign them so don’t hurry the process. Take your time and prepare them well.

Do you have a method for engaging them in your ministry?

What about entrusting them with the responsibilities involved?

Do you have a way to gather feedback from the “newbies” in each of your ministries?

Have you interviewed current volunteers to see if they felt prepared?

Did they feel like the position was a good fit?

I would suggest you follow-up with your first time volunteers to help them adapt and adjust to their new surroundings and responsibilities. Don’t leave them stranded all on their own. Support them the entire time they are serving.

As I said last week there is no tool or resource or training video that can take the place of your dependence on God through prayer, your walk with Him and His discernment about the people He has brought into your congregation.

The resources below are provided to help you sort out how to develop your process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have need. 


P.S. Your process should include a back ground check procedure to screen volunteers before they begin to serve. There are any number of companies available to serve your church in this way.

Online Training Video Series:

How to Develop Volunteers for Every Ministry in Your Church

Evaluation Software:

Place Ministries

Assess Me

Aim Ministry

Evaluation Tools with links to amazon:

S.H.A.P.E. by Erik Rees

Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath & Barry Conchie

Personality Type and Religious Leadership by Roy Oswald and Otto Kroeger

Protege by Steve & Cheri Saccone & Mark Batterson

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

No More Mondays by Dan Miller

Living Your Strengths by Albert Winseman, Donald Olifton & Curt Liesveld

Live Your Passion, Tell Your Story, Change the World by Rob Reccord & Randy Singer

Maximizing Your Effectiveness by Aubrey Malphurs & Carl George

Marshall Shannon
Ministry Design Coach
Pre-Construction Navigator
Equipping & Encouraging Pastors and Ministry Leaders 
Creating Facility Design Solutions


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