Church Volunteer Management: Volunteer Scheduling
Handing off church ministry responsibility to volunteers can be a huge benefit to your church. Introducing volunteers in more circles within the church often means the responsibility over details is alleviated from leadership, allowing them to focus on managing and directing the overall goals and mission of the church.
However, while having volunteers is a great idea, actually making it happen can prove quite difficult. If you are using multiple volunteers in different departments or ministries within your church, you’re bound to encounter the task of scheduling.
Church Volunteer Scheduling: Best Practices
Scheduling volunteers can be a tricky task. Not every ministry and volunteer list calls for even distribution of personnel and week-to-week rotation. Some volunteers in leadership are bound to be around more often, while others serving in smaller Sunday-specific tasks will rotate frequently. If you are looking to get into church volunteer schedule management, here are a few practices that can help alleviate the stress of running a volunteer-driven church:
1) Frequency Management
You can’t expect every volunteer to have the same level of commitment. Aside from higher positions of leadership authority such as worship leaders and children’s ministry coordinators, all volunteers may expect different levels of commitment, and you need to be able to meet them where they’re at – not scheduling them too far above or below their preferred level of involvement. A few things to consider are: how involved the volunteer position is with the congregation, how much training is required for the role, and if it’s a higher-level managerial role vs. an entry volunteer position. Those who will be dealing with leadership positions or relations to children and the congregation should be scheduled much more frequently so as to be a “familiar face” to members, while entry roles and week-by-week general “tasks” (ushering, greeting, first impressions teams, etc.) may be rotated more frequently.
2) Scheduling Tools
No, your memory probably won’t suffice for this task. There are a ton of useful web and mobile apps for church volunteer schedule management that are far more capable than an Excel sheet or calendar app.
Planning Center Online (Groups), BandCamp, and Basecamp are a few of many tools out there. The right software will depend on the types of volunteer schedules you’re attempting to manage (worship ministry, a little of everything, etc.) Do your research and find one that will work best for your ministry!
3) Forgetful Volunteers
Not everyone has a great memory… and if you’ve worked in ministry in any capacity in the past, you know you can’t always rely on volunteers to remember to show up for their roles. The truth is, volunteers will miss their scheduled dates – it’s not a question of if, but when. The real concern lies in how you deal with these situations.
It’s always smart to prioritize volunteer roles by necessity. In other words, while everyone is important, leadership roles such as worship and Children’s Ministry Directors are in a much more principal role than ushers. Before accepting anyone’s inquiry to join your church’s volunteer programs, gauge your trust in their level of commitment.
Also remember, as much as we hate to say it, sometimes you need to let certain volunteers go. If someone is being unreasonably unreliable or not taking their commitment seriously, it might be time to have the conversation.
Volunteers can be difficult to manage, especially when it comes to scheduling. If you are growing you’re volunteer base, don’t rely on your memory or simple excel sheets to manage everyone’s schedule. Look into upgrading your technology by using apps such as Planning Center Online, BandCamp, or Basecamp. Also, make sure you know the level at which everyone is committed. Taking on the responsibility of Children’s Ministry Director, for example, is a much greater commitment than being an usher on a Sunday.
We hope it doesn’t happen to your church, but always prepare for the worst – have a plan for working with the bare-minimum number of needed volunteers for the Sundays where volunteers forget to show up. Putting these tips into practice can help to streamline your church volunteer schedule management and keep everyone informed on their respective roles and schedules.
About the Author
Chris Fleming is a professional musician from Minneapolis, MN who has played with artists such as TAYA, Big Daddy Weave, and Jason Gray. He is actively involved with the worship music scene and has contributed as a drummer, music director, song writer, and producer for various worship artists and churches locally and nationally. Chris is the Motion Designer at Motion Worship, helping to create motion background collections and countdowns for our subscribers.