The Proven Way to Build a Great Volunteer Team

There is no “pixie dust” when it comes to building a dynamic volunteer team. I believe the number one way to build your team is personally inviting people... one at a time...week in and week out.  Approaching people...putting your arm around them...and inviting them to join your team.

A survey was done to find out the top 10 reasons why people volunteer. Here are the results.

10. External forces –pressure from an outside group or need

9. Boredom – have a lot of free time on their hands

8. Guilt – guilt is placed upon the person causing them to volunteer

7. Experience – looking for experience (an example would be someone who is studying to be a school teacher and wants experience working with kids)

6. Social needs – respond to a social need such as hunger or homelessness, etc.

5. Spiritual reasons – believe it will make them closer to God

4. Out of gratitude - way to show thankfulness

3. Personal connection – personally connected to the need (an example would be someone volunteering in a cancer fundraiser who has a friend with cancer)

2. Compelling need – natural disaster, social injustice, etc.

1. Someone personally asks them – a personal invitation from someone

Notice the number one reason people volunteer.  87-93% of people volunteer because someone personally asked them to.

That’s how Jesus built His team.  Look what it says in Matthew 9.

“As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow Me and be My disciple,’ Jesus said to him.  So Matthew got up and followed Him.”

And when you invite people to join your team, it’s vital to pray for divine appointments.  Look with me at the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.

“As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.’  So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia.  The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning.  Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  The Holy Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and walk along beside the carriage.’’  Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’  The man replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?’  And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.  The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.  And as a lamb is silent before the shearers he did not open his mouth.  He was humiliated and received no justice.  Who can speak of his descendants?  For his life was taken from the earth.’  The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?’  So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.  As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look!  There’s some water!  Why can’t I be baptized?’  He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.”
Acts 8:26-38
This was a divine appointment.  God had already been preparing Phillip.  And I believe He is preparing divine appointments for you as well and He will lead you to them if you will ask Him. 

Dan had been attending our church for over a year but was not serving anywhere.  We noticed him as he dropped off his kids each week.  One weekend before people started arriving, we prayed for a divine appointment for a serving opportunity we had available.  Later, as we saw Dan checking in his kids, we sensed he was the one God was preparing for this role.  We approached him and shared the service opportunity that was available.  He immediately teared up and told us God had been dealing with him about serving in the very role we were talking to him about.  He had asked God to send someone to ask him if this was His will.  We were the answer to his prayer and of course he said “yes.”  He is still serving faithfully in this role.  That’s what we need when we ask people to serve. Divine appointments.  Ask God and He’ll arrange them for you. 
We’ve all heard the statement, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step."  I would propose that the journey of 1,000 volunteers begins with asking 1 person to volunteer.  In the ministry I Iead, we started 8 years ago with 300 people serving and today over 2,600 are serving.  The vast majority of these people have joined our team because someone personally asked them.  We didn’t sit down and say, “We’re going to build a team of 2,600 volunteers.”  We simply went and found one person and asked them to join our team.  And then we went and found another person and asked them to join our team.  We did this consistently...week in and week out.  After years of doing this, we looked up and we had 2,600 of those “one” volunteers.  Great volunteer teams are constructed one person at a time.  If you will consistently make the personal asks, you can grow your team.

This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of my new book - If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry.  You can get this and other great ideas that will help you build the children's ministry you've always dreamed about at