Seven Things Volunteers Need From Their Leaders

Most paid ministry staff roles in the church require work and leadership with volunteers. It’s not always easy, but the reward of equipping the church for ministry is incredible! With effective volunteer ministry, more gets accomplished and it’s more fun.

I once heard it said that volunteers are motived by success. It’s true there isn’t a physical paycheck, but they I think they are motivated by more than just success… things like purpose, passion, community, and fulfillment are also ingredients. So much hinges on the culture the leader brings to the ministry.

So here are seven things volunteers need from their ministry leaders – and if you have any to add, I would love to hear them!

Reminder Of The Purpose

When we know why we’re doing something, we have a better chance of staying motivated. Volunteers, especially on the tough days, need to be reminded why we’re doing this in the first place. Remind your team of the purpose every chance you get.

Victory Celebrations

Success is easy to brush off – we move on to the next task to be accomplished. Your team needs to take a quick breather and celebrate the big day, hard work, and small victories. Doesn’t always have to be a party (though, that may be good for certain seasons or accomplishments), but can be as simple as a quick story or testimony from someone who benefitted from the ministry. Forward emails, share thank you cards and celebrate the things going right!

Atta Boy / Atta Girl

Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work. A simple thank you goes so far in helping people realize they are important, needed and appreciated. Every team member needs to know that someone else knows they are working hard. Give atta boys and atta girls out freely!


Clarity around the roles and the mission of the team is important. Team members want to know what is expected of them, what the time frame or deadline is, and what the goal is. When you have clarity about both the big picture and the everyday “how tos”, then your team can really fire on all cylinders.

Proper Tools

The leader must do all he or she can to provide the best tools. LIsten to find out what would make the volunteer roles easier. Have them research it and bring ideas. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but make plans toward figuring how to get the right tools in place. There’s always a balancing act when it come to church budgets, but even small things to make the life of your volunteers easier is appreciated!


Your volunteers need access to you. Leaders need good boundaries, but be sure to answer emails and texts in a timely manner, make sure you provide specific times for feedback and evaluation with your team members, and keep them in the loop. If there is a change in time for a meeting or some big announcement coming up, try to keep your team aware and a step ahead. Access increases motivation and the sense of belonging.

Good Systems

What do you use to communicate, schedule and equip your volunteers? There are a million effective ways, but one thing is for sure, you must develop good systems to keep things moving easily. Some examples of good systems might be as small as a thank you text on Sunday afternoon highlighting something great that God did in worship that morning. A big system might be your regular schedule for meetings during the year and the fact that you publish those dates in advance.

As a team leader, what do you see as a need when it comes to volunteers? What about volunteers – what do you most need from your leader?

I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leadersstudent ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.


Other Posts:

How to Pay Your Volunteer Teams

Effective Church Staff Leaders Appreciate Their Volunteers (Here Are 15 Ideas)

The most natural way to get volunteers

Create Something People Want To Join














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