When I started out in ministry I had no real team to speak of. Sure I had a graphic designer on a very part time basis and a part time web developer, but they were both are paid positions. I knew that we would never reach our full potential with this limited time capacity.

What I needed to really get things done were a team of volunteers. Now after a lot of hard work, volunteers are the life blood of the ministry I lead. Without them I’d up a creek without a paddle (I’m so thankful for you all!). Here are the 7 practical tips for starting out or building a volunteer team:

1) Ask – Don’t be afraid to ask the congregation. Use your available communication channels such as your news, bulletin, social media (Leave your contact no. or email on any communication). I’ve always discovered people through these channels. However, the highest success rate I have though is finding the right people is through the relational networks of the church.

2) Listen – I spend lots of time meeting with a prospective volunteer. In that meeting I won’t talk much, but I will be listening to hear about what real experience they have (the majority of the work we do needs to have a high level of experience). I also try to understand their personality and how they will fit into the team. I will ask about where they are at in their faith journey and how long they have been at Crossway.

3) Share – I always explain what the ministry is about and cast the vision. I’m not trying to convince them to be a part of it, but to help them see the bigger picture of where we are heading and how what they will do will contribute to it.

4) Wait – I always ask them to wait and not to make their decision straight away – even if they are keen. I ask them to pray to see if it is where God is leading them. I also ask them to follow me up the next week. This demonstrates whether they have really bought in or not (This may sound a little high handed but it works).

5) Test – I always start with small tasks. The reason I do this is to try and understand what their real ability is and also whether they can handle the capacity of work on a regular basis. I also always give them tasks they can accomplish in the time frame they have with me. There is no point giving someone a huge project that they will struggle to complete. I would be setting them and us up for failure.

6) Release – There is always a probationary period at the start of a volunteers time serving with in the communications ministry. It gives us both a chance to see if we are the right fit for each other. It also gives us and them permission to say yes or no at the end of that time.

7) Increase – Once I’ve reviewed their performance and know that they have the ability to do more I’ll give them more work to do (if they the capacity time wise). I’ll also give them more responsibility to see a project through if they demonstrate that they have the creative and project management skills needed.

What has or hasn’t worked for you in building a volunteer team? Would you add any points? Comment below.