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20 Ways to Promote Serving and Recruit Volunteers in Your Church

Recruiting volunteers doesn’t always come easy. So consider these 20 ways to promote serving in your church!

In most churches the congregation seems to be struck by blindness when it comes to seeing announcements for volunteer opportunities. In my church we finally discovered we needed to promote something five or six times before people really heard it. The average potential volunteer seems to think in this way:

Week 1: (doesn’t even notice the announcement)

Week 2: “Oh, look at that! They need an usher.”

Week 3: “Oh, looks like they still need an usher.”

Week 4: “What? They haven’t found an usher yet?”

Week 5: “What is wrong with people around here? Why isn’t anyone ushering?”

Week 6: “Okay, I guess I’d better do it.”

Instead of bombarding the congregation with constant announcements from the pulpit about volunteer opportunities, an effective plan of action is to use multiple ways of getting the word out. In marketing, the Rule of Seven says that seven impressions of your message are needed before people will recognize it. This means that consistently repeating the message is important because it will take multiple tries before people even hear it!

Unfortunately, the same bulletin announcement seven times in a row only causes people to tune out. So you’ll need to use a variety of methods to reinforce the message.

Here are 20 ways you can broadcast serving opportunities to your congregation.

20 Ways to Promote Serving in Your Church

1. Up-Front Announcement

Usually the standby at many churches, a verbal announcement by the emcee, worship host, or pastor is one of the primary ways of making announcements.

2. Skit Announcement

A more creative method is to have a short skit. Humorous skits work particularly well. Through the skit, communicate the serving opportunities in an appealing manner.

3. PowerPoint Slide

Before the service, project scrolling PowerPoint slides that publicize areas for volunteers to step in. Use sharp photos or graphics to attract attention. If you use photos of your own volunteers, make sure they’re smiling and looking like they’re having a good time!

4. Help-Wanted Ads

On a sheet of paper, create “classified ads” for volunteers needed. You can even make it look like a newspaper and have display ads. Use humor and clipart to make it more interesting, and organize your listings by categories. Put the paper in your bulletin or where your brochures are displayed.

5. Bulletin Announcement

Bulletin announcements are found in just about every church. Keep your announcements fresh by rewriting the blurb every Sunday. Remember to include clear contact information so people know who to talk to if they’re interested.

6. Video Announcement

In our media-centered culture, videos are a great way to get an announcement across. From a serious angle, a testimony or short documentary is one approach. If you prefer humor, make a spoof of a TV commercial with a twist for serving.

7. Table or Display in the Lobby

If you need volunteers for the parking ministry, create a display with parking cones, parking signs, toy cars, and other visual aids that will catch someone’s eye. Having someone at the table is best, but if that’s not possible, lay flyers out so people can take them for more information.

8. Signs on Easels

Create a large poster and mount it on poster board (some copy centers provide this service). You could even do a sequential series of signs where each sign has a phrase and, four or five signs later, the punch line is completed. Stagger the easels along a hallway or walkway.

9. Posters on Bulletin Boards

Print out posters and tack them on bulletin boards. Or tack up multiple brochures across a bulletin board to create a wall of graphics.

10. Ad Campaign Posters

Create an ad campaign with one slogan and multiple images. Design the posters in the same format so people will instantly recognize them as promoting the same message. Put these posters all over your campus. Don’t forget both sides of your doors.

11. Website Announcements

If your church has a website, set up an area for potential volunteers to visit. Have a “frequently asked questions” section and list volunteer openings. You can also feature top 10 serving opportunities, ministry specifics, or stories about volunteers in the church. Make sure there is a direct link from your home page to this area so that people can easily find it!

12. Newsletter

Ask if your church newsletter can have a section for service. Besides listing opportunities for service, why not also share exciting news of the impact that volunteers have been having in the church and in the community?

13. Articles on Serving Groups or Volunteer Spotlights

It’s important to celebrate the acts of service of groups and individuals. Recruit a writer (or write an article yourself) on star volunteers who show a commitment to the church and to their ministry. People are inspired by other people’s stories, so share the struggles as well as how they’ve been overcome. Use the articles to promote values of your church and culture, such as servant attitudes or selflessness.

14. Ministry Fair

A ministry fair is like a trade show for serving. Provide ministry leaders tables where they can set up displays and information about their ministries. Publicize the event well in advance. Tying in a ministry fair with a series of messages on servanthood, calling, or serving is particularly effective.

15. Postcard Mailers

Target people who aren’t serving by sending out postcards promoting serving at the church. Highlight benefits and cast a mini-vision for serving on the postcard.

16. Flyers After Service

Have people stand by the exits and hand out flyers. Pick the friendliest people you know to hand out the flyers.

17. Ministry Opportunities Catalog

Put together a ministry opportunities catalog that details specific roles people can get involved in. For example, under the children’s ministry section, you can list “small group leader,” “large group teacher,” “class facilitator,” or other positions. This helps people see specific ways to get involved.

18. Volunteer Central Booth

If you have a fellowship area, have a table dedicated to volunteerism at your church. Staff it with friendly people and encourage people to stop by to ask questions or pick up literature.

19. Serving Cards Display Rack

Create a card for each ministry and display them in a rack or stand. You can even have fun by designing ministry trading cards so people can collect a series!

20. Voicemail Hotline

Set up a voicemail extension that’s dedicated to announcing serving opportunities. When people dial in, they can listen to the message that highlights prime openings they can get involved in.

Use some of these methods as springboards into creative ways of promoting serving at your church. Variations and combinations of the techniques above will ensure that the people at your church hear the word about volunteer opportunities. With these ideas, you’ll definitely hit your magic seven of getting the word out!

Angela Yee is an author, speaker, and chief ministry officer of the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination in Chicago.

For more tips and strategies, check out The Group U training course: The L.I.F.E. Strategy for Recruiting and Equipping Volunteers. In this course, you’ll discover how to find and retain volunteers and master key volunteer management skills. Looking for even more volunteer recruiting ideas? Check out these posts!

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