4 Proven Tips to Identify Volunteers

If your like me, you could use more volunteers.  One of the best things I ever did was shift my thinking on volunteerism.

Every person in my church is a potential volunteer.  Obviously, not everyone in my church can, should, or wants to serve in my ministry, and thats OK.  But some do, more do than we realize. I needed to stop saying no for people.  I needed to stop expecting a no.  If you don’t ask you will never know.

I set a goal to identify as many “potential” volunteers for my ministry as possible.  The longer I have followed the simple steps listed below, and the more details I included, the more successful the system was.

How do you Identify Volunteers?

FIRST: Get a list of all regular church attenders.  The size of your church will determine how extensive the list.  Some possible lists to consider are:

  • A list of everyone who attends your church.
  • A list of people who have attended your churches membership class.
  • A list of of those who participate in your churches small group ministry.
  • A list of those who have given in an offering in the last six months.
  • A list of everyone baptized in the last two years.
  • A list of every person who has a child in your kids ministry.

SECOND: Create a detailed spreadsheet evaluating each person on the list.  This is not information that you will share, this information is to assist in identifying who to invite to join your ministry.  The purpose of the spreadsheet is to evaluate each individuals: involvement in the church, skills, experience, interests and potential.  The spreadsheet should include the following fields:

  • Persons full name.
  • Age.
  • Contact info: email, phone number.
  • Family information.  Are they married? Do they have kids?
  • Are they regular church attenders? (3 out of 4 services a month) 
  • Do they attend a discipleship group?  If yes, which one? 
  • Do they attend a mid-week service?
  • Do they attend an evening service?
  • What weekend service do they attend?
  • Are they already serving in a ministry? Which one?
  • Have they received any ministry training? If yes, what?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Does their job provide them a skill that can be used in ministry?

THIRD: Categorize each individual into one of the following categories: 

  • Un-employed – not currently serving.
  • Mis-employed – serving in the wrong ministry.  (a position that is not fulfilling or  doesn’t match their serving sweet spot) – See blog post about “Strategic Placement” for more info.  
  • Over-employed – serving too much already.
  • Under-employed – has capacity to serve.
  • Employed – leave alone, already committed.

Keep in mind everyone’s involvement changes. Just because someone is employed or over-employed doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Add them to the list, who knows what their availability will be in six months or six years.

FOURTH: The next category to consider are the four levels of spiritual maturity.  Every christian falls in one of these categories:

  • Emotionally unhealthy.
  • Emotionally immature.
  • Emotionally mature.
  • Emotionally giving.

In my experience 80% of the people in the average church fall into the first two categories and need some coaching before they are ready to serve with kids.  This is where you have to use wisdom and discernment. Your goal should be to invest the most time, energy and resources into those who will give the greatest return. Look for opportunities to release the emotionally mature and emotionally giving into ministry while trying to bring the unhealthy and immature along in their discipleship.

Personally, I choose to spend the majority of my time recruiting those I have identified as emotionally healthy and Emotionally giving.  Once you have a working list, you can begin to use that list to identify who the best candidates are to invite to join your ministry. At this point, you can work your process for adding volunteers to your team.  To see my 9 step process that I take every potential volunteer through, check out “9 Steps to Adding Volunteers.”  

What tips would you add to this list?  Leave a comment below.  

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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