"Yes! We can play that role today in the church for all those folks just waiting to hear Come…follow me."
Volunteers Need to be Called
Are you having trouble getting people to “step up to the plate” to serve in the church? Let’s get something really clear….they rarely do! So we need to find another way to engage people in ministry. God didn’t wait for people to come (or even make general pulpit announcements)…God called people to come. By name. Moses, Mary, Gideon, Samuel, Noah, Jonah, Isaiah, Esther, Paul, the disciples. For each one God said, “Come…follow me.”
Burning bushes, Jesus Christ, still small voices in the night, angels, and through other people. Other people? Yes! We can play that role today in the church for all those folks just waiting to hear “Come…follow me” (whether they realize it or not). Whether the call is to help those in need or greet newcomers to the faith or visit the shut-ins or teach the fourth graders, the first step is the call.
It helps to have an intentional way or process of inviting people to serve. At GenOn Ministries, we've developed a process that we teach church leaders to use. And it works.
Step by Step Process for Calling Volunteers
1. Remember the Big Picture
Help people recognize that God calls people to very broad roles (to be a “covenant people” and to be faithful followers of Christ) as well as a call to use specific gifts in a specific way. The goal of calling volunteers is to identify gifts; to find ways for those in your church to discover and understand their specific gifts.
2. Create a Call Team
Establish a team that will go through intentional steps to implement this process of call (Call Team).
3. Prayer Prayer Prayer!
Call Team spends time in prayer and study of scripture to invite God into the process.
4. Create Volunteer Descriptions
The Call Team creates a description for each position that needs to be filled (tasks and expectations, term of service, spiritual gifts needed, personality fit, support and resources provided) and then prays over it.
5. Who you Gonna Call?
The Call Team spends time on their own considering names for specific position descriptions and continues praying (but not asking yet!).
6. Who you Gonna Call? (Part 2)
The Call Team meets again to consider names for each position. Consider questions such as:
- how well each person matches the gifts and talents needed,
- how will the church benefit and be blessed by each individual serving in this role,
- how will each person benefit and be blessed by serving in this role)
Through prayer and discernment, the Call Team seeks one name for each position.
7. The Face to Face Moment
Someone on the Call Team extends the invitation…face to face… Do not make the invitation through an email or passing in the hallway at church on a busy Sunday morning. After the face to face meeting, give the person time to talk to and listen to God (and other people) about the call.
8. Following Up
Someone on the Call Team follows up 3-5 days later to hear the answer. You should accept and celebrate a “no” as readily as a “yes,” knowing that time has been spent in discernment.
That’s a brief summary of the call process. The next process, of course, is a commitment to equip our volunteers once they have answered the call to serve. GenOn offers an entire workshop on the process of call for those interested in learning more.
Liz Perraud is the Executive Director of GenOn Ministries, a non-denominational Christian organization that works in partnership with local church leaders to build disciples of Jesus Christ through intergenerational relationships.