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The Top 5 Volunteer No-No's

Volunteers are the life blood of any church or ministry. Without those who generously give of their time, talents and energy - nothing would be able to be accomplished by the church (humanly speaking of course). Here are some volunteer no-no's and pitfalls to avoid when working and communicating with volunteers.

1. Never ask a volunteer to help “YOU.”
  • Ask them to help the church, or help in a classroom. Don’t make it a personal favor to you. Personal favors won't stand up over the test of time.
  • The focus shouldn't be about YOU.
2. Never thank a volunteer for helping “YOU.”
  • Remind them of your overall vision and purpose when saying Thank You.
  • For example, "Thank you for helping us reach all these kids this morning. You’ve been a great help to all of us!” vs. “Thanks for helping me out. I don’t know what I would have done without you!”
  • And... the church name should be prominently displayed on any thank you correspondence. Make it about the Church or organization, not me!
3. Don’t ask the same volunteer to do the same thing over and over.
  • Don’t abuse the willingness of one person to ALWAYS help when needed. Mix it up! Don't go to the same "well" all the time.
  • You want to avoid not giving others in the church the opportunity and privilege to serve.
4. Never show any displeasure with church leadership to Volunteers.
  • Teach the Power of Buy-In! Representing our leader’s choices as our very own. This shows our volunteers that we are a strong team, and are working together for a common goal.
  • Even if it is someone else’s fault, make it our fault (this is where the power of the Gospel comes in - we can own fault when we know that we are SECURE in Christ). If everyone would do this, then rumors and displeasure with leadership would be stopped early and often!
5. Never ask "How did it go today?"
  • “How did it go today, or this morning?” is an unhelpful question. The question is too vague, and you are certain to get merely a one word answer, "fine".
  • Ask questions that are directed toward the specific outcomes you and your volunteers are working toward. When you do this, it will give you and your volunteers a real and concrete sense of how they are doing, and it will provoke with them a real discussion of issues or concerns that perhaps need to be addressed.
(ht: littlepastor)


This is awesome! I talk about "the power of Buy-In" as you put it, in terms of "Presenting a unified front". I work in a camping ministry over the summer, and we talk about that all the time. I had never thought about the point you made in #1. Making it a personal favor. Rarely do we consider what we communicate in How we ask for help. Great stuff!

Yup, you always want to tie it into the vision. That is more compelling.

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