For the first post in this series, go here. This is the second post in a three part series about engaging volunteers, based on an email conversation with another church.
In my last post, I introduced the concept of Strategic Service. Strategic service also follows our principle of the Next Step. If someone agrees to help out with an Easter Service by serving on Welcome Teams, they are not committing to serving for the next 44 years! They have only agreed to the One Time Serve (the name of the card we use to collect some Strategic Service requests). This “half-step” is a psychological pressure valve – they get to see what serving is like without committing themselves to what might feel like indentured servitude 🙂 Our leaders follow up with them, seek their feedback in a pressure-free way, and invite them back. And, as I said, most discover it is fun and stay on!
Our Strategic Service approach is our only “public” appeal, and even that is usually done in smaller settings. Most of our volunteers are recruited personally.
We have a monthly leadership meeting for all ministry leaders we call FUEL. And an oft-recurring theme at FUEL is Recruiting and Reproducing. We train all of our leaders, who then train their teams, that the job of recruiting new volunteers is the job of the volunteers, not the staff. We teach them a simple way to look for and recruit new volunteers: Acknowledge a strength you see in someone, Align that strength to the vision of The Orchard, Ask them to serve (ASK BIG!), and Arrange a time to meet for training.
Once they have identified a recruit, each volunteer them Reproduces themselves into that volunteer. We again teach a simple and easily remembered approach for reproducing: You watch me, We do it together, I watch you, and We celebrate and evaluate.
So, for example, while one of our Common grounds coffee bar volunteers is serving someone their mocha-frapa-latte-spresso with extra whip, they might comment on the patron’s taste in coffee (you’re here all the time!)… and wouldn’t you like to help the Orchard connect with visitors using that great coffee palette? Would you like to try serving here at Common Grounds? Great – let’s meet next Tuesday… etc.
Next post… some common volunteer questions.