Why “Volunteer” Is The Wrong Word

When it comes to non-paid people who attend your church, “volunteering” is often the last thing on their mind.

Most of them are just trying to hang in there when it comes to everyday life.

They’re just proud of themselves for making it to church a couple of Sundays a month.


But because they are the handiwork of God Himself, there is something inside of them that comes alive when they serve.


They want to be connected to something bigger than themselves.


But they don’t know that yet.

What they do know…

  • Guilt they feel over not being better people.
  • Relational struggles.
  • Time challenges.
  • Financial difficulties.

To connect them to a higher calling of being a part of God’s work in the local church THROUGH THEM, leaders must paint a compelling picture.

  1. Start by using the word VOLUNTEER.

    With people who are new to your church—or new to the idea of serving—volunteer is a good word. That’s why we use it at the Rocket Company. People who aren’t immersed in church culture think “serving” is what waiters do at a restaurant. And if you ask them to be a minister or pastor, they’ll run for their lives. You want your language to be understandable to people who haven’t been in church their whole lives.

  1. Immediately connect volunteer to A BIGGER VISION.

    I tell congregation members who serve, “You’re not You’re partners. You’re not volunteers. You’re pastors.” Then I cast vision for their role while I break down any emotional walls they may have.

For instance, if I’m talking to someone about serving on the parking team, I don’t say,

  • “We need more volunteers for our parking team. Are you interested?”

Instead, I say,

  • “The parking team is literally the first impression people have of our church. When they pull in, they are already deciding if it was a good or bad decision for them to show up that day. If you can smile, be friendly, and clarify any parking confusion for them, you are already breaking down walls. And I promise they will be more open to what God has to say to them that day. This is not about filling a role. This is about fulfilling a calling.”

This is just a taste of what we will talk about this week.


Clear your schedule for one hour. It will be worth your time. We promise.