Fishing Your Volunteer Pond

It seems like you can never have enough volunteers. And often times, because of this, the pastor finds him/herself filling in the gaps, which means, doing things they should not have to do, instead of the things they should be doing. Which then, brings us to the subject of: delegation. Whether you’re simply searching for more volunteers to help in the various ministries of your church, or looking for someone to delegate responsibilities that are currently on your shoulders, here are my “1’s, 2’s and 3’s of delegation” that will help you identify potential volunteers.

First, get out your church phone directory, or what ever list you keep that tells you the adults that are currently involved in your church. Count someone as an “adult” beginning at the age of 16.

Look over your list for those people that are already adequately involved in the church. These are the types that are doing their part, and therefore, you would be reluctant to ask them to take on any more responsibility. Write a number 1 next to their name.

Next, look over your list for those people that are currently doing nothing in your church. Every church has these types. You know what I mean, basically they just show up once in a while on Sunday mornings, maybe if you’re lucky they drop a dollar in the offering and that’s about it. Write a number 3 next to their name.

Finally, look over your list for those people that are somewhere in between the #1’s and the #3’ss. These are people that are contributing, or involved in some small way, but the commitment is so little that they could easily take on more without becoming overly committed. For example, you are grateful for the person who stands at the door and hands out the bulletins, but if that is all that they do, they certainly could do more. You appreciate those who pass the offering plates, or baskets, but that is not a very high commitment or time-consuming ministry. Write a number 2 next to their name.

Think of your #2’s and your #3’s as “volunteer ponds” that you can fish in. Over time some of your #2’s will move up to become #1’s. Over time some of your #3’s will move up to become number 2’s. On the other hand, some #2’s and #3’s will never rise above their current status. But you never know.

If you have a very important area of ministry that you want to delegate you obviously don’t want to delegate it to a #2 or a #3. The area that needs to be delegated needs to be delegated to a #1-type of person. But if your #1’s are already adequately committed. You will need to take some responsibilities off of their plates and onto the plates of your #2’s or your #3’s, and therefore free your #1 up so they can take on what you need to delegate.

My 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s of delegation will help you identify who you have to work with in seeking volunteers. There are no guarantees. They may still say no. But at least this is a step in the right direction for spreading ministry responsibility out to a broader base of your congregation and, hopefully, enable you to take some things off of your plate.

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