Sunday, December 16, 2012

VOLUNTEERS: ASK! It makes them feel valued!

I admit that I'm most at home in small congregations and my pastor at the small church where I'm a member often expresses his concern about people stepping up as volunteers.

Why is it that nobody in leadership in the congregation, including the pastor, ever asked me to help and do they ask anyone else?  Yes, I offered and he often said yes when I did, but the culture there seems to be "We'd like you to help but we won't ask.  But if you ask we might let you."  Is that the culture at your church too?  If you don't ask people to become part of the community, they will probably remain on the peripheral.  Do you get to know your members and recruit them or just hope they are brave enough to ask if there's something they can do?  Do you send out generic "We need volunteers!" emails and hope somebody bites? Most likely, you won't get volunteers with an invitation like that..

Maybe it's time to look at it from a different perspective.  Ask them to help so they feel valued in the congregation and because you feel they are valuable.

Just once I wanted somebody to say...
  • I could really use your help with...
  • I noticed you're really good at.... would you mind....
  • Do you have any ideas about....
  • Somebody told me you're really great at.... would you mind...
After I would convince somebody to let me try something new the pastor would thank me profusely and I once asked him to stop thanking me because that's not what makes me feel valued.  What makes me feel valued is when somebody notices I have a gift and asks me to share it, and when I'm done, thanks me sincerely and then asks me to do something else.  Again, what makes people feel valued is when somebody notices they have something of value to share and asks them to share it.  ASK!!  (And the more people you ask, the fewer will have to do everything... or feel they're doing everything.)


  1. Laura, this is really good. I was just talking about this very thing with my wife who had recruited some singers for Christmas services. I could tell that one of the singers was very honored to be asked. Great reminder... also the insight about "We'd like you to help but we won't ask. But if you ask we might let you." is brilliant.

    1. Thank you so much for the positive feedback. Blessings on your ministry!