Strategic Volunteer Placement

A successful volunteer ministry is created through strategic volunteer placement.

Every Christian has a unique gift mix that when identified and considered will allow for the greatest possible success in ministry. Eric Rees, in his book titled, “S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life”, describes how every Christian has a Kingdom Purpose and that every Christian has a unique S.H.A.P.E. to be used in service to God.

Our goal as ministry leaders is to help those who serve with us to find their ministry sweet spot. That place where a persons unique S.H.A.P.E. is optimized for ministry.  S.H.A.P.E. stands for:

S = Spiritual gifts: God gives each of us spiritual gifts at the time of conversion.
“… Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” 1 Cor. 7:7b

How can you help potential volunteers learn and use their spiritual gifts in service to others?

H= Heart: God gives everyone passions and love for certain things.
“God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose…” Rev. 17:7

How can you help potential volunteers discern what they love to do and us that passion in ministry?

A = Abilities: God gives everyone natural talents and abilities.
“There are different abilities to perform service…” 1 Cor. 12:6
“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 (MSG)

How can you help potential volunteers learn the natural talents and skills they have and how they can be used in ministry?

P = Personality: God gives everyone unique personalities and temperaments.
“No one can really know what anyone else is thinking or what he is really like, except that person himself.” 1 Cor. 2:11 (LB)

How can you help potential volunteers discover where their personality best suits them to serve?

E = Experiences: God has placed experiences in our lives to help mold us for ministry.  God is using all our past experiences to bring about good. Our past has a purpose.  That is why the Bible says, “…and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

How can you help potential volunteers evaluate both the positive and negative experiences they have had and how they can best use them in ministry?

The volunteers in your ministry will be most effective and fulfilled when they are using their gifts and abilities, in the area of their heart’s desire, in a way that best expresses their personality and experiences!

You need to overcome the temptation to place people who are willing to serve, but don’t have the right S.H.A.P.E. to work with kids, into the next open position.  You are not looking for people who have nothing better to do, so they sign up to serve.  You are looking for people that God has uniquely SHAPED to work with kids!

Your job is not to find Sunday School teachers, nursery workers, or kids church leaders.  Your job is to help people discover who they are in Christ, to be faithful in their love for Him, and to use their unique S.H.A.P.E. in service to Him.

If you are filling slots with warm bodies, you are setting your ministry up to fail.  You need to place the right volunteers into the right positions.  I know that takes more work, but when you get this right, everything gets easier.  When you get it wrong, you will end up with people who fail in their position, are bored, or just don’t fit the position they are in.  That means volunteer turnover.  That means more recruiting, more training, and more placing.  It is much easier to get it right the first time, than to have to do it over and over because you rush the process.

Take your time building your team, work to get people placed in the perfect position within your program.  You are building a team, not just filling slots.  Your goal is not to recruit enough people to fill the jobs you have open.  It’s about helping people discern how God has SHAPED them for service, and helping them understand how they can use their unique S.H.A.P.E. to serve Jesus by serving the kids in your ministry or another ministry in your church.

When you get volunteer placement right, you will build a reputation as a ministry leader that cares more about helping people fulfill their kingdom purpose, than about filling positions with warm bodies.   A leader who is strategic in volunteer placement, will never have a shortage of volunteers.

How are you strategic in your volunteer placement?  What did you identify you need to improve to be more strategic in your volunteer placement? Leave a comment below or on Facebook at

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

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

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