In the process of creating Volunteer Rocket, we talked to seven churches who were doing a great job gaining, training and retaining volunteers. Here’s a profile of NewSpring Church with campuses all across South Carolina, including the original campus in Anderson.
They communicate the vision of the church that inspires people to step up and serve.
Pastor Perry Noble constantly talks about the vision of the church, not just in messages about serving, but in lots of messages. NewSpring makes sure everyone knows the vision of the chruch, and works hard to connect the vision of the church to serving. Everybody taking a next step is a part of the culture.
If you want to keep volunteers engaged, make sure they know why they do what they do. At NewSpring, volunteers don’t serve to make Sunday happen. Serving is the result of people who understand the mission of the church. Volunteer training is focusing on the mission of the church, not just on the skills necessary to be a good volunteer. “We are fortunate enough to have a pastor who is behind the idea of volunteering because it’s good for you and your relationship with the Lord,” says Amy Bagwell, a member of the connections staff.
There are about 7,000 volunteers across NewSpring campuses. More than 2,200 of those volunteers serve in the Guest Services areaas alone.
In order to serve at NewSpring, you have to be an owner (Newspring’s word for membership). So volunteers always come online by going throught he Ownership Class. Some people go to the Ownership class and first hear about the heart for serving. Others inquire about serving and are directed to the Ownership class.
Behind the Scenes
In a recent conversation, Amy Bagwell shared a little more about what makes the volunteer ministry tick.
What percentage of your adult attendance volunteer on a regular basis? Approximately 30% of our adult attendance are assigned to a team.
How would you describe the volunteer culture? Our volunteer culture is one made up of joyful servants. We do our best to emphasize that we want something for you not from you as a volunteer. When people understand and experience this, they serve out of the overflow of what Jesus is pouring into them, they develop lasting relationships within their team, and they are happy to be at church.
What’s the #1 way people step into serving at NewSpring? Many of our volunteers get connected after attending an Ownership Class (membership class). In this class they hear our beliefs on the importance of serving in the Church, and they have an opportunity to sign up for a team or to find out more about where they can serve. Although there are other avenues for people to step into serving, this is the most common.
How do you keep volunteers engaged and connected to the ministry? We are in the process of adding a position in our volunteer leadership structure called “Team Connectors”. The goal of a Team Connector is to care for other volunteers through conversations and relationships. Letting volunteers know that we care more about them than the role they fill is crucial in keeping them connected. We believe they need to serve in an area that they enjoy. We are quick to have a conversation if we see that someone is serving begrudgingly, and do our best to help them find a team that will utilize their gift, and therefore be enjoyable.
What does a healthy volunteer ministry allow you to accomplish? Having a healthy volunteer ministry is as beneficial for those serving as it is for those being served. Volunteers are able to grow in their relationship with the Lord and guests are welcomed to a warm and comfortable environment. Our goal is to help people feel like they belong, so that they will believe the message we are presenting – Jesus.
How has volunteering helped people follow Jesus? In Matthew 22, Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God and love others. Serving in the church is an avenue for people to do both of those things, love God and love others through serving. As we are being obedient to that command, we are following Jesus. In addition to that, our volunteers are ambassadors of Jesus to the people coming through our doors every single week. They point people to follow Jesus and they walk them through their next step. They are the body serving the body.
NewSpring is just one of the churches we profiled for Volunteer Rocket. The core coaching program is a simple, step-by-step process your church can implement to gain, train and retain volunteers.