I had served in the childrens ministry of my church for over a year, and I was so impressed that every single weekend the Lead Childrens Pastor stopped by the door to my classroom to thank me for serving. It was a very large church, so I am sure it was no small thing that he made it a point to stop by each week.
But I noticed after a while that he never called me by my name. He usually said things like, Good morning, My People, or Hey Girl, thanks for being here, or something along those lines. Over time, that really began to bug me because I realized he didnt actually know who I was. To him, I was that lady that served in the three-year-old room.
Thats not to say he wasnt thankful that I was serving, or that if he met me on the street he wouldnt recognize me as the lady who served in the three year old room; its just that he didnt know me.
I WISH HE KNEW MY NAME.
It seems like a small thing. But youd be surprised how many Pastors and Leaders do not take the time to learn the names of the people who serve in their ministries. Of course, if you are at a large church it may be impossible for you to know everyones name. But someone should know their name.
Someone should know their name, and the name of their spouse, and the name of their kids, if they have them. Someone should be celebrating birthdays and family wins (like weddings and graduations.) Someone should be mourning with them when the need arises.
In short, if you or someone on your team does not take the time to really get to know the people serving in your ministry, those people will begin to feel like they are warm bodies filling a job description. When they stop feeling like part of the team, it wont be long before they stop being part of the team.
5 Quick Ways to Get to Know Your Volunteers
- Wear name tags. This is the easiest way to call your volunteers by name. (Rocket science, I know.)
- When they fill out their volunteer application, be sure it includes a place for them to tell you about themselves and their family, and be sure to attach a picture. (Yes, I know that might feel a little weird, but its going to be invaluable down the road)
- Send out a weekly email to the entire volunteer team that celebrates a specific volunteer and ask others to reply with their wins for the week. (This takes about 10 minutes out of your week, but the return on investment is immeasurable.)
- Write one handwritten card to a volunteer each week. They will personally come and find you and thank you for the card. The combination of you writing the card and them thanking you for it cements them into your brain. (Im not making this up. Thats how the brain works!)
- Every 10 volunteers should have someone who is responsible for their care. This does not have to be a staff person. Your volunteers will serve on your team forever if they feel like they are on A TEAM.
Volunteers want to know two main things; they want to know they are making a difference in the world, and they want to know they make a difference to you. Show them you know them, and theyll be on your team forever.