3 Steps to Gaining Great Volunteers

You may be like me and have a personality that doesn’t want to ask anyone for help. I am a person that HATES delegation. I am apprehensive to trust people to get the jobs done that I should be doing. I do not mean that in a crude way, but it is how my brain and personality were created. Sometimes, this characteristic can kick me in the behind.

I do not like to delegate. Almost four years ago, I was planning and preparing for a Boston butt fundraiser. I was already on edge because I hadn’t been at the church where I was serving very long. And if this didn’t take the cake, I had to sell 60-70 butts to break even. But I was trying something new. I was going to delegate the main organization of this project to a volunteer. In fact, this specific person was giving me detail after detail about how everything was in line and ready to go for the fundraiser.

Fast forward 6 weeks.

We’ve been doing everything we need to do to prepare for this event. And then this person hit me with the news. Up until this time, I was told that we had a secure price of $1.33/lb for the meat. My volunteer came in and told me that meat was now $1.89/lb. That is a $0.56/lb increase! We bought 100 butts. That means, we paid almost $2,000 for meat only. This does not include the $600 for the man who smoked them for us.

It. Was. A. Disaster.

I was devastated. I was hurt. I was almost angry. I was so angry because I was trying so hard to delegate some of my work so I wouldn’t overkill myself with everything and look what happened! In the end, we came out with about $500 profit amidst all of these issues. I guess there is always a silver lining, but it was not fun on my end of the deal.

Since then, I have really had to try hard and make myself delegate certain responsibilities to others. Here are my 3 steps for gaining great volunteers.

1) Pray. Pray. Pray.

Gaining great volunteers is an asset to you and your ministry, especially if you are in student ministry. I am currently serving as a student and children’s pastor. Because of this, I am not able to teach every class. I must delegate these roles, even though it is out of my comfort zone. In my ministry, I want to do my best. Therefore, I want my volunteers to do their best and want to do their best. Therefore, it is imperative for you as the leader of the pack to spend time talking to God and asking Him for guidance and clarity as to whom you should approach about volunteering with your ministries. God knows better than any other person as to which one is the best in which position.

2) Consider Spiritual Gifts.

In my experience, it seems as though the most needed volunteers are teachers. There is always some class in the children’s ministry or wherever needing a teacher. The first action for many churches is to announce this from the pulpit. This is the WORST way to recruit teachers/volunteers. James wrote that those who teach must be careful when they do teach because they will be judged with a stricter judgment than others (James 3:1). Once you have prayed fervently for Jesus to send someone your way or to reveal to you who you should ask to serve, you need to consider their gifts. We want our teachers to make sure they have gifts that deal with teaching. The other spiritual gifts are not bunk because not everyone is a teacher. However, it is crucial for the church to use people where they are gifted, not where they are necessarily needed. 

3) Let Them Know They are Changing the World.

This may be the most wonderful truth to tell your volunteers. Once volunteers are placed in certain areas, they will need encouragement. It is not uncommon for volunteers to experience burnout like us pastors. In fact, it is just as prevalent in our volunteers, maybe even worse. You see, we tend to overload our volunteers and never check up on them or give them a break. But one of the greatest encouragements we could ever give our volunteers is to let them know they are investing in lives and changing the world with their service.


Getting any volunteer is a daunting task. I know it is a long and sometimes drawn out process. It will take some time and energy on your part.

I have learned over the last year that waiting for something is better than jumping in full force after a month or two of planning. It is not normal for me to wait 6 months or a year to start something new and that has been challenging for me when I recruited some more volunteers. However, it is necessary to be patient and let God lead the right people to you. He can do that and you should let him. I hope these will help you start seeking volunteers who will come alongside you and your vision for your ministry in service to our glorious King of glory and grace.

Do you have other steps that you would add to this list? Let me know by filling out the form below!