5-Step Guide to Church Volunteer Management


Volunteers make your ministry work. They’re the hands and feet that help carry out your mission. That’s why it’s vital to understand the best practices for church volunteer management. Consider these five steps to align volunteers with opportunities and help safeguard your ministry.

1. Develop a Volunteer Role Description

Before you start recruiting volunteers, specify the roles and responsibilities of each position. Here are some key factors to define:

  • Who the volunteer reports to
  • Date/time of service
  • Location
  • Responsibilities
  • How responsibilities align with your mission
2. Offer a Church Volunteer Application

A volunteer application can help determine the position best fitted for the applicant’s gifts.

The application should request:

  • General contact information
  • Church membership status
  • Prior experience
  • Relevant skills
  • References
  • Criminal history
  • Permission to perform a background check

In addition to the application, it can be helpful to offer informational meetings, skills testing and training to help church members learn what skills they have and how they can be used to serve the Kingdom of God.

3. Conduct Church Volunteer Background Checks

Choose a reputable firm to conduct background screening on your volunteers. The screening should cover the entire United States and be broad enough to pick up close matches, but not exact (for instance, a similarly spelled name or a Social Security number off by one number). The screening should include federal, state and county court records.

4. Provide Thorough, Ongoing Church Volunteer Training

Invest in your volunteers by helping them learn details about the work they’ll do, the people they’ll serve and how the ministry fits within the overall mission of your church. Volunteers also need to learn what not to do and how to react in an emergency. Make ongoing training a part of your church volunteer management plan to reinforce existing procedures and address new concerns. Establishing a training program also lends credibility to your ministry and guides your volunteer workers to work toward a common goal.

5. Follow Up with Church Volunteer Appreciation

Most volunteers aren’t looking for recognition; however, a simple “thank you” will make them feel appreciated and encourage them to continue serving. Other tangible expressions of your appreciation, like a special social gathering, show your volunteers — and your entire congregation — how much you truly appreciate their efforts. Here are a few ways to express appreciation:

  • Words of encouragement (spoken or handwritten)
  • A shoutout in your church newsletter or social media (with permission)
  • A celebration dinner
  • A mentorship program
  • Leadership opportunities
Reduce Risks in All Areas of Church Management

Church volunteer management is just one of many administrative tasks, and each involves risk. Is your ministry mitigating risks related to crime, employees and conflicts of interest? You don’t have to do it alone.

At GuideStone®, we come alongside you to help you understand property and casualty insurance and protect your ministry. For more information, contact us at InsuranceSolutions@GuideStone.org or (214) 720-2868, Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate policies and procedures for your church's risk management program.