So, in case you missed it, we are living in a day and age when people don’t like to commit to things. Research shows that Millennials particularly are less likely to be married and of course less likely to commit to a job long-term compared to previous generations. But, it’s more than major life decisions, a lot of people feel stressed out by the commitment of a phone contract, serving regularly at their church or plans more than 1 day out. 

This is one of the big disconnects in general that millennials and people have with churches. Churches immediately want you to jump all the way in and go through the “assimilation process” and become a “member.”  At everything.church we talk about a lot engaging first-time guests and creating an environment that immediately engages people, but we also know that even committed people are going to church less than ever. When we can barely get people to church every week, how are we supposed to get them to SERVE?

Serving on a weekly or bi-monthly basis is kind of a big deal. Considering the serve is indefinite, as in never-ending, it’s no wonder so many ministries feel like they are constantly struggling with finding new volunteers. A lot of people wouldn’t mind helping out but are scared to make the commitment cause they don’t know how strict you’ll be, how easily they can ask off, or if it will be awkward if they step down.

 So, repeat after me…

low commitment serves are key

and

easy on ramps are a must

 

There’s not always bubbling opportunities for low commitment serves. Typically when a ministry leader is attempting to recruit, they are looking to recruit for a specific position, and they are hoping you’ll stick with them.

 

this is why I believe that vbs might be able to solve all your volunteer problems

 

1. people are more likely to say yes to short-term commitments

Let’s face it, most ministry leaders are looking for faithful people who love their ministry to be on their team. Most people don’t have the opportunity to create a short term event just for someone to try out a position. However, VBS isn’t the only opportunity. Holidays like Easter and Christmas, as well as Harvest Parties and Back to School events all, have the potential to make the same effect. At events like these, you can ask people to serve for one specific event and they can get their feet wet. Getting your feet wet is the first step in falling in love with a ministry. 

 

2. the dates are concrete 

This might not seem like a big deal, but it really is. The reason being is that people can open their calendar and look at what else they have going on, and decide if it’s a good time for them. If this person isn’t currently serving or “bought-in” their schedule takes much higher priority over what you’re offering. Similarly, there’s an end date, people don’t feel like there’s a chance of being “bamboozled” if they know when their commitment ends. 

 

3. you’re highlighting your best ministry features

VBS is typically the best of Kid’s Ministry. It’s the best dramas, the best worship, the best crafts and the most energy all packed into one room, in one week. This is the ideal situation for a new volunteer to be wowed by all that God is up to in your ministry. The same goes for a special event or holiday, when you’re putting your best foot forward; it really does make an impact. Make sure your volunteer schedule is easy to understand and super organized. Your volunteer should have a great experience in front of and behind the scenes. 

 

4. seeing people every day for one week puts relationships on hyper speed

If you have a weekly serving model, it would take 4 to 5 weeks for the same relational impact to occur that can possibly occur in a week of VBS. If you have a serving model that’s monthly with a huge rotating schedule, it’s possible that people might not serve with the same person again for months.  The ownership potential for a volunteer is huge in serving. However, it still needs relationships to make it really worthwhile. Relationships will of course, occur with you, the ministry leader, but they also need to occur within your ministry. One week spent with other people serving and having a great time can make a huge difference in their commitment to your ministry and even your church.

 

5. seeing little lives changed can make a big impact

Everybody wants to feel like the work they are doing with their lives is making a difference. This is why so many people love serving, to begin with. This work has eternal value. The ending to a strong week of VBS is often better friendships, earnest relationships with their leader and even a salvation commitment. There are few things that can be more rewarding to someone who is serving than that. It might take months in a traditional serving position to see the same results. 

 

The same can often be said of other holidays and one time events that get a big push. Guests lives are often changed and commitments to Christ are very high.

so, maybe you totally get why your volunteer efforts can be solved by reading those five points alone, but if you can’t, I’ll spell it out for you a little more. 

 

  • Short-term commitments provide an atmosphere for someone to say yes to serving, the same goes for other short-term events and even substitution opportunities. 
  • If you get the opportunity to highlight your ministry someone can much more easily falling in love with what you’re doing.
  • The time investment of an event like VBS means making friends is a possibility, and everything is more fun when done with friends. 
  • Nothing will make people more interested in serving long-term than seeing the difference and impact they can make. When they get to experience it first hand, it’s all the more powerful. 
  • You already will have their information and background check on file, this means after your event is done, you can approach them about the potential of serving further. 
  • If they still seem to be a commitment-phobe, ask if you can put them on your “sub list.” So, that you can call them last minute if someone calls out. 
  • At the very least, see if they would be willing to serve at all your Special Events like VBS or holidays. Then you have the possibility to help get them plugged in at a future date.
      Research shows that it takes quite a bit of time to earn someone’s trust, but don’t give up, you don’t know what kind of impact you could be making on their “serving journey” and their life. 

 

Stacia Stall

About Stacia Stall

Stacia has over a decade of ministry experience, with the majority of that time leading next generation change. She has experience leading over one hundred volunteers, and developing curriculum for kids and students. She has a passion for creating amazing volunteer cultures. Stacia has a B.S. in Church Ministries and Biblical Studies, as well as experience educating in an elementary public school environment. She is also immensely creative and accomplished in teaching people about the wonder of God.

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