the shape of leadership

Six Alternative Ways to Volunteer

Help everyone find a place to serve

Influence Magazine on March 8, 2019

Volunteering is the heart of a successful church. The healthiest churches have a high percentage of members serving each Sunday. And each of your ministries need a large base of skilled leaders and workers to make them effective. That’s why it’s so important for people to find their talents and a place to use those gifts.

But not everyone can serve every week. There are people in your pews who may not have a traditional work schedule. Nurses or doctors on call may not be reliable. Parents of children with special needs may find it difficult to serve on a regular basis.

So what should you do with those members? You want to make sure they are using the gifts God gave them. And your church can benefit from their contributions. Finding a place for them to fit may mean providing alternative opportunities. Here are six to consider:

1. Creative and Construction Crew

Maybe they aren’t able to serve each Sunday. But you can still put their talents to use. Get together a team of carpenters, creatives, and construction-minded men and women to help out on stage construction, audio-visual features, graphic design or general repair. They may serve once a month or less, but their contributions are no less important.

Why not enlist volunteers who can serve from the comfort of their homes?

2. Weekday Office Help

Ministry doesn’t begin and end on Sunday. There are plenty of tasks that need attention during the week. Stay-at-home moms or retirees might be able to come by the office during the week to collate and staple materials, make copies for preschool and elementary classrooms, help clean up the nursery or sort toys. The options are endless.

3. Boards and Committees

Some professionals have tough schedules that don’t allow them to be at church consistently. But they may offer flexibility at other times. Boards or committees who meet during the evening once every month or two may be a good alternative for their time and use of their leadership.

4. Remote Volunteer

With the digital age upon us, why not enlist volunteers who can serve from the comfort of their homes? They can help you send emails, schedule volunteers or even make phone calls. Find their fit, and put them to work.

5. Small Groups in the Workplace

Business people with busy schedules usually stop for lunch. Why not leverage their influence in the marketplace? Empower them to start small groups as an extension of your church right where they are.

6. Visitation and Hospitality Experts

Ministry during the week is often as important as what happens on the weekend. Gather a team of people who are great at knocking on doors, making dishes for others, or just serving where needed. Then put them to work visiting first-time guests or those who can’t get to church. Now you’ve got a team dedicated to alternative service to nontraditional members.

Never let a week go by without providing an opportunity for people to serve. It may take some effort and ingenuity, but it will always be worth it.

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