Recently I offered to answer questions related to church administration. While responding direct to the enquirer I felt that some answers might be of wider interest.
It is increasingly difficult to motivate people to join a team and to stay on in that particular team; most people leave the team or lose interest in serving within 4 weeks. Is that down to poor leadership, poor recruitment or is there a deeper issue with the attitude of serving?
Clearly there is something seriously wrong here. Lets look at it together and see if we can diagnose the problem.
Do people in the church understand what serving is about? It is not just about getting a job done but about vision and a desire to be like Jesus. To fulfil vision, or accomplish a goal, an ‘army’ is needed and we are all called to be ‘soldiers’.
It takes humility to serve. I am aware in your culture (this enquiry came from outside the UK) labour is cheap and people employ others to do the menial jobs. Do people understand that in the church we are different? We are all called to serve and this starts with the leaders setting the example. Jesus himself was prepared to put a towel around his waist and wash the disciples’ feet (Jn 13:4-5). If he can do it so can we.
When seeking volunteers I like to approach people direct rather than asking for people to respond in a more public way. This tells people I care for them; it is not just about getting a task done. I have noticed that they have something to contribute out of their gifting to serving in this way.
4. Job descriptions
Are people clear what it is they are being asked to do? However simple the serving opportunity it is good to have discussed with people what needs doing and hear from them any ideas they may have about how to do it. This gives ownership to the task.
Do you support people in their serving? Ask them if they are enjoying it. How could you make it more fulfilling and satisfying? Do you have intentional team-building times – meals together with the team etc? Do you provide training?
Is serving taught by the leaders? This needs to be both in word, from the Bible, and by example.
Serving is a wonderful vehicle for discipleship. People need to be reliable, faithful, diligent etc. If people prove faithful in the small things God will open up bigger ones (Matt 25:21-23).
These are some of the aspects of serving you need to consider. There is much more on this topic in a 9-part series I wrote in my blog, which you may wish to explore. Remember that a serving church is a happy church!