Upward Basketball is a tremendous ministry in many of our churches. An Upward Basketball coach commits more than 3 hours a week to this program. An AWANA worker gives a minimum of 2.5 hours a week, and an AWANA group leader gives about 5 hours a week, while an AWANA commander gives around 12 hours a week. In addition, most of these people attend two or more services a week.
Do members have time to volunteer at church? AWANA and Upward volunteers have the time and give it gladly. From these two examples we can learn that it is not a shortage of time that keeps most people from volunteering or serving in their churches.
How do you get people to volunteer? To attend training classes? To work in the Sunday School or to attend on Sunday evening or Wednesday evening?
First, recognize the inverse relationship of time and commitment. The greater the demand on time, the fewer people you will involve. This has always been true. If you are to staff programs, populate training classes, you must first intentionally raise the commitment level of church members.
Second, in a healthy church if it is important to the pastor, it will be important to the church members. So the activity you are trying to staff or promote must be seen as a priority to the pastor. He should talk about it in announcements, mention it in sermons, and help recruit the volunteers and participants. If the pastor takes the time to promote and participate, he will rally the congregation to do the same.
Third, volunteers, trainees, and church workers need to eat. AWANA usually includes a meal doesn’t it? Would there be as many workers if no one could eat at church? This is a convenience that helps workers with busy schedules. If I were serving as a pastor, every evening meeting at church would involve a meal.
Activities, classes, and projects that involve church volunteers should be well planned. Members should not wonder why they are present, what happens next, or why the leaders aren’t better prepared. And every meeting should begin on time, and unless the Holy Spirit intervenes, should end on time.
Relevance should be communicated in eternal terms, rather than temporal ones. If one pupil in an adult class draws closer to God, an entire family’s spiritual future could be change. If one of the little girls in GA’s becomes a missionary, a nation could be saved. If a deacon visits prospects on Thursday nights, a family can be reached for Christ.
They WILL attend prayer meeting, become Outreach Leaders in Sunday School, attend teachers’ meeting, or work with RA’s if it is important enough to do so. Pastor, church staff member, you are the one who makes it important.
From Doug: What is stopping us from implementing some of this? How can I communicate better how important some of these things are?