10 Questions Your Volunteers Wish You Would Ask Them

I'll never forget when I called to check on one of our volunteers whose mother was sick in the hospital.  When he picked up the phone, he immediately begin apologizing for not being there to serve.  It broke my heart.  His first thought was not "Dale is calling to check on me and my family."  It was, "Dale is calling to see why I didn't serve."  It was a gut check for me.  I hadn't been asking him the right questions up to that point.  My questions hadn't demonstrated that I really cared about him and his family.

There are 10 questions your volunteers wish you would ask them.  Questions that show you care more about them as a person than about what they can do for the ministry.  Here they are. 

Are you in your sweet spot?
This question helps volunteers make sure they are in a role that aligns with their gifts and passion.  When volunteers are in their sweet spot, they thrive.  When volunteers are in their sweet spot, they enjoy serving.  When volunteers are in their sweet spot, they are fulfilled.

Ask this question to new volunteers before you place them in a role.  Ask this question a month after volunteers start serving to make sure they're in the right role.

There are volunteers who are miserable and frustrated because no one has taken the time to ask them this question.  There are volunteers who quit after a few months because no one took the time to ask them this question.  There are volunteers who are in roles where they are needed, instead of in roles where they need to be, because no one has asked them this question.

How are you doing?
Let me rephrase that.  Ask them, "How are you 'really' doing?"  Many times volunteers won't share what's really going on in their life, unless you ask them.  Behind the smile may be suffering, depression, financial problems, family issues and other struggles.  Take time time to find out how they are really doing.  

When is your birthday?  Your anniversary?  
Find out so you can celebrate with them.

Can we meet for coffee this week? 
Your volunteers want to spend time with you outside of serving.

Do you need a break from serving?
There are times when volunteers need a short break from serving, but they won't tell you.  Ask them. 

How can I pray for you?
They need to know you are praying for them.    

Can I give you some feedback?
This question shows you want to invest in them and help them grow as a leader.  Here's more info about how to effectively provide your volunteers with feedback

Are you ready to take on more responsibility?
Your volunteers want to be challenged.  They want to grow as leaders and take on more responsibility.  As they are faithful, ask them this question.   Out of the 70 people we have on our children's ministry staff, 65 of them started out as volunteers that we asked this question.

Are you going to the worship service?
Ask this question to your volunteers on a regular basis.  Make sure they are getting feed and poured into.  This will help them serve from the overflow. 

What's your favorite __________?   
Candy?  Drink?  Restaurant?   Find these things out and surprise them with it occasionally.

All of these questions will help deepen your relationships with your volunteers.  Remember...

Use the ministry to build people instead of using people to build the ministry.
Your turn.  What other questions do you ask your volunteers?  What other questions do you think volunteers want us to ask them?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.