4 Keys to Keeping Your Volunteers Excited About Serving

It's not always easy to keep your volunteer team excited about serving...especially long term.  Many volunteers start out excited about serving, but over time fall into a rut or "grow weary in well doing." 

As the leader of the ministry, you should be the one who helps volunteers stay excited about serving.  One of your most important tasks is to make sure you identify and curb any underlying issues that are causing excitement to wane.  If a volunteer's excitement level dips too low, he or she will end up quitting.

With the right tools in your belt, you can keep the excitement level high.  Let's look at 4 keys that will help you do this.

Key #1 - Be the example.  Everything rises and falls on leadership.  Most often, the excitement level of your volunteers is a mirror of your excitement level. 

Be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.  The difference?  A thermostat sets the temperature, while a thermometer just measures the temperature.  Make sure you stay excited about the ministry.  Volunteers will pick up on your excitement level in your voice, actions, priorities, communication, interactions, etc. 

Key #2 - Show your volunteers you are excited about them.  Show them how much you value them.  Help them see how valuable what they are doing is.  When volunteers feel valued, they will stay excited about serving.  When they don't, morale will begin to decline.  I'm sure you've personally experienced this.  Think about a time when you worked for or served with someone who took you for granted.  You rarely, if ever, heard the words "thank you."  You felt used.  There was little, if no positive instruction or encouragement.  Your excitement level begin to wane.  And eventually you quit or wanted to.

Show your volunteers you are excited about them by saying "thank you" often.  Keep them informed about what's going on.  Equip them.  Empower them.  Coach them.  Ask for their input.  Show them they are the #1 asset of the ministry. 

Key #3 - Have fun.  All work and no play makes for dullness.  One of the best ways to keep the excitement level high is to have fun.  Fun will lift your team's spirit and create an atmosphere where volunteers love to serve.  Think of ways you can incorporate fun into each time you get together.  It can be something as simple as a quick, fun game during a pre-service meeting, a fun icebreaker to kick off a team meeting, showing a funny video, etc.  You should also have some times where you get together with your volunteers with nothing on the agenda but fun.  Maybe it's eating together or going on a hike together or going bowling together or having a cook-out.  You can even ask them what they like to do for fun and then go for it.

Key #4 - Show them the impact they are making.  One of the best things you can do to keep your volunteers excited is to show them how they are making a difference.  Invite them to the baptism of the 4th grader who is in their small group.  Tell them about the young couple who accepted Christ while they were carrying for their baby.  Tell them about the family that came back to church because they greeted them and helped them feel welcome.  Tell them about the preschooler who went home and told her parents about the Bible story connected to the craft they helped prepare. 

Nothing gets volunteers more excited than knowing they are being used by God.  You know that feeling.  The feeling that comes when you know God has used you to make a difference in someone else's life.  It ushers in excitement, doesn't it? 

Here are some questions to think about and work through.

What is the current excitement level in your ministry?  High?  Low?  

Are you leading by example?  How excited are you about the ministry?  Do you need to rekindle your passion for God's calling on your life?

Do your volunteers know you are excited about them?  What are some ways you can better show them you value them?

Is your ministry a fun place to serve?  What are some ways you can up the "fun factor?"

Are you sharing the stories of the lives God is using your volunteers to impact?  How can you do a better job of showing them how God is using them? 

You can get more great tips on leading volunteers in my new book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  It has been called the best book ever written on the subject by some readers.  It is available at this link.