Three Things Every Volunteer Wish You Knew (Part 3)

We are in a three part series, click here to read Part 1. Click here to read Part 2.

blurred_face“I was pretty excited about my role in the Welcome Ministry. I had read through the job description, filled out my application, and reported for duty, as instructed, on my first Sunday as a greeter.  Or so I thought. They were short ushers that day, so they asked if I could help take the offering. I was supposed to be shadowing someone else as a greeter, (a giant step outside of my comfort zone as it was) but said I would help take the offering. I know it sounds like small potatoes, but it was a big deal to me.  I was lost. I felt incredibly self-conscious. They told me I did fine, but I didn’t feel fine. When I left, I wasn’t sure if I was a greeter or an usher or what exactly my role was. Honestly, the whole experience was a bit chaotic, so when the next Sunday rolled around, I just didn’t show up.”

I Wish They Would Take More Time Training Me

Surprisingly enough, this is not that uncommon an experience for many volunteers.  They sign up, show up, and then give up because the ministry is either so understaffed or so poorly organized that the volunteers don’t get properly integrated.
There has to be a system in place for integrating volunteers.  It has to include proper training, shadowing, first serve opportunities, and then WHEN THEY ARE READY, independent serving. The last thing you want your volunteers to feel is lost, unsure, and self-conscious about their role.
The Three-Step Approach to Volunteer Integration That Never Fails
Step One:  You Watch–I Serve
Shadowing – The new volunteer watches an experienced volunteer in the same role.  Depending on the position, this could happen once or for several weeks.
Step Two: You Serve–I Watch
Guiding – The experienced volunteer watches as the new volunteer serves in the role.  This gives the opportunity for immediate feedback and OJT (on the job) training.
Step Three: We Both Serve
Serving – When the new volunteer is ready, they begin serving as one of the team, maybe even ready to have their own shadow!
Always remember that volunteers serve because they want to make a difference.  When people feel accomplished and good at something, they will feel like what they do is important.  They’ll feel like they’re making a difference.
What’s your church’s method of getting new volunteers in place?