Volunteers Make Guest Ministry Happen

We don’t have to tell you that volunteers are the lifeblood of the church. Our ministries wouldn’t be nearly as effective without those volunteers that give selflessly of their time and talents for the higher purpose of reaching hearts for Jesus. And those volunteers in Guest Ministry are of particular importance. The guest experience truly makes the difference between a guest that is turned into a passionate follower of Christ and a guest that is turned off to Jesus altogether, and that experience begins with your Guest Ministry volunteers. So how are we to ensure that those volunteers are equipped to deliver a great guest experience—one where guests genuinely feel the love of Jesus through them? And how do we keep our volunteers excited and passionate about their roles so that we can retain them, and even add more to our ranks? First John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us,” and this same principle can apply to how we lead our volunteers.

If we want a guest ministry that expresses generosity and caring to guests, show volunteers the same generosity and caring first.

Here are some practical suggestions to show volunteers you care:

1) Tell them you care. Hand written notes, text messages, phone calls, and emails are all ways to tell your volunteers how much they mean to you. Take the time to notice (or find out from others!) that ‘something special’ that each of your volunteers brings to their position and communicate that to them. Personal messages, especially those that help them feel truly seen, will mean much more than mass messages. Some of my most cherished notes are those handwritten by my church leaders, calling out my positive character traits and expressing how much my volunteer role has impacted the ministry.

2) Show them you care. Provide breakfast foods or lunch after service on a regular basis. A free t-shirt or water bottle or some other gift that only volunteers have access to each season can also go a long way. Not only does this gift communicate that volunteers are valued, but it also provides a sense of being a part of the team, and can even help make the volunteer crew look that much more appealing to folks who are not yet serving.

3) Continually cast the vision. Remind them (a lot!) why their service is important. Explain how the pieces of your guest ministry fit together. When possible, share feedback from guests that shows how much guests appreciate what the volunteers are doing. Understanding that higher purpose, keeping it top-of-mind, and hearing how their roles make a difference are all important to keeping that passion for volunteer service alive. Pro tip: Combine steps 2 and 3 by stamping your church or Guest Ministry vision on the T-shirt or other gift. Every time they wear that shirt or use that coffee mug, they’ll be reminded of the purpose both within and outside the church walls.

4) Support them. Make sure they have the tools, signs, or other information they need to do their jobs well. During the summer, the parking lot is a tough place to serve. Go out of your way for them every week in these months, making sure they have lots of cold beverages, sun block, a tent to stand beneath for some shade, and maybe even a generator and fan blowing cold air on them beneath the tent. A great Bluetooth speaker with some energetic music can help keep spirits up, too. By supporting your volunteers well, not only do you remove barriers and free your volunteers to serve to the best of their ability, but you also make it easy for them to invite others to serve alongside them.

When you continually invest in your volunteers and remind them how important they are to the health and growth of your church, their natural response will be to step up to the plate and hit a home run for your Guest Ministry, delivering a great guest experience by investing the generosity and care you’ve shown forward into the lives of your guests.