categories: swerve lab
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March 27th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

11 comments (+ Add)

swerve lab: Volunteers

Thanks to everybody who continues to respond and help those who have submitted questions to the swerve lab. If you have a question that you would like for the readers of this blog to respond to, please send it to and put “Swerve Lab” in the subject line.

Since we all just finished celebrating Easter (some of us with multiple services), I thought this would be a great question to discuss.

Jeremy Woodall from Sonrise Church asks,

“How do you get volunteers to serve multiple times on a weekend?”

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  1. Mar 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    It seems that if you make your volunteers feel important and “part of something”, that they are the hands and feet of Jesus, and they’ll devote themselves to an entire day of serving. Work to build community among volunteers, form friendships, and get them serving doing something they are passionate about, and they’ll want to be there all the time.

  2. Mar 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Find more volunteers. A long-standing principle at LC is “worship one, serve one”. If people WANT to serve more that’s fine so long as they are not neglecting other (e.g., family) responsibilities. And by all means, don’t “guilt” them into serving more.

  3. Mar 27, 2008 at 2:54 pm


    Care for them as individuals. We did this last week by providing a volunteer lounge with Starbucks, fresh pastry, music, and comfortable seating. This was availible before their service times, at breaks between services and after their volunteer service is done for the day.

    Care for their families. We will be providing staffed children’s ministries between worship experiences for the children of volunteers working more than one service. New Spring church has gone so far as to create a room dedicated to the children of their volunteers who are serving multiple service times.

    I think the biggest way is to motivate by sharing stories of life change and impact with your volunteers. Most people are volunteering with your church because they believe in it and believe it has the power to make a difference. Help them to see the difference it is making.

    Great question!

  4. 4brandon
    Mar 27, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I agree with all of those. However, if you are like me Jeremy and do not have time for anything too large, simplicity is key. People have to understand that they are the body and are meant to help others connect and grow. Anyway to make them feel important is always good, but nothing compares to the feeling of being swept up in a Godly vision. Finally, I forgot who said it, but someone important once said: “Unexpressed gratitude is seen as no gratitude.”.

    Use every opportunity to thanks those who serve. Let them know they are making a difference.


  5. Mar 27, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    In my experience, it’s all about casting a vision. A vision well casted and continually casted is one that will stick.

    It’s imperative that they see the need and impact that their role has. If people know they’re valued and what their doing makes a difference, they’ll give you everything they have.

    Will they serve multiple services? Maybe. I’ve got a volunteer that serves one service every week. This guy is also working 50-60 hours a week and going to school in the evenings. His only opportunity to study is on the weekends but manages to squeeze in a couple hours of service each weekend… sometimes more. The difference with him is that he sees the impact he’s making and feels like a valued part of the team.

  6. Mar 27, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    As a layman, I volunteer as much as I can because I have been blessed enough to have great pastors who preach the Word. There I have found (and it has been preached on and taught) that although Christ is head over all, and the pastor head over the flock, I am responsible for what I can do. My current pastor has really focused us on taking ownership. So, when I see something that needs doing, I do what is necessary to get it done. If I can’t do it, I bring it to someone’s attention who can take care of it. Guests are one example. We all feel the need to greet guests and make them feel welcome. It isn’t a “job”, rather a way to reach others for Christ, which is all our responsibility anyway.

    First Baptist Church, Bowling Green, FL

  7. Mar 27, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I agree with Tom and Brandon.

    I have taken many leaders through my book in a small group setting and it has allowed them to find different ways to structure their service opportunities to easily recruit new volunteers and retain existing ones.

    You can find out more about my upcoming second edition book called Handle With Care on my Agile Ministry website.

  8. Mar 28, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Vision, vision, vision! But that vision needs to begin way before the holiday arrives. At LC, we don’t mention a need for them, but more of an opportunity for God to use them. ‘We need to be ready for whatever God wants to do during Easter. He’ll be the ones changing lives, but let’s be prepared for the masses and ready for anything. That means let’s have every door covered, drivers and parkers filling the lot, ushers all over the place, tons of hospitality, and guest services for every new face we see.’ Of course this didn’t occur at every experience we had, but there were definitely plenty of volunteers ready for God to work!

  9. 9Larry
    Mar 28, 2008 at 6:40 am

    I agree with Tom’s opinion. Get more volunteers! Don’t get your current volunteers to serve multiple services. God’s people need to focus most of their time and energy to God’s work outside of the church walls. In my opinion, asking your volunteers to work multimple services leads to burnout, period.

  10. 10Travis
    Mar 28, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Some will serve multiple experiences and you can’t keep them from it…all you have to do is ask. Others will feel it is too much of a committment.
    One of the things we do is ask volunteers to attend one worship experience and serve in another on the same day. We feel this dual connection communicates we don’t just want their service, we want them to be part of the worship experience.

  11. 11Trina
    Mar 29, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    This is a tough one for me. I love to serve, it is no sacrifice for me. People who sacrifice to serve get more heavenly rewards for serving at 1 experience than I will if I serve at 6 cause I have a servants heart, it is important for people to understand this. I consistently tell others our treasure is in Heaven, this is most important. One thing I love about is that I don’t have to give up serving in order to learn. I think there should be a way for everyone to hear the message even if it is only an audio recording to listen to later in the week. We are fortunate because we have a body that makes it easy, with all the different areas of service. It isn’t just hey you can help with the kids like alot of places. Host team is a vital part of our experience. That helps…. First thogh stress it is about God not ourselves, he sees and knows our hearts and if it is difficult he will repay you greatly.