This is the last of our Why Church Volunteers Quit articles. Going off of the 3 part Volunteer Discipleship Framework introduced in our first article, we're finishing things up with the last step of volunteer discipleship: Church Volunteer Scheduling.
After we've taken the time to recruit and train our volunteers, we can begin to give them opportunities to serve as "fishers of men". This means knowing when they can serve and scheduling them accordingly.
Before a volunteer is scheduled to serve, it’s best to know their preferences. This includes the frequency they can serve, the days they can serve, and stipulations for when they serve. In a church setting, the stipulations may be the most important.
Steve and Kate are a young married couple at your church with two young boys ages 1 and 4. Steve has volunteered to serve in the parking lot ministry while Kate has volunteered to serve in the nursery as well. They have 2 stipulations:
Though this may not seem that complex, the story of Steve and Kate is just one of the many situations you may find yourself in when it comes to scheduling your volunteers. Because of the unique challenges of scheduling in a church setting, we recommend using a church volunteer scheduling software to schedule all of your volunteers across all of your ministries.
Instead of handling the logistics of who and when volunteers can serve, a volunteer scheduling tool enables you to focus on the ministry at hand. Giving your people the ability to set block out dates for when they’re unavailable or having an automated scheduling reminder sent via text message helps make that happen.
One of our favorite features of ChurchTrac when it comes to scheduling is Side-By-Side. With SBS, you can view up to 4 services at the same time and schedule your people by simply dragging and dropping.
When we’re properly discipling our volunteers, the likelihood of volunteer burnout is lower. However, we still have to be aware of our scheduling frequency and the level of expectations that we set on our people. One of the best ways to prevent volunteer burnout is to NOT schedule them strategically and give them time off (even if they insist no).
For ministries already low on volunteers, this is a challenge. Volunteers will often say things like...
"I can pick up the slack"
"It's no trouble at all"
Resist the urge to give in to their repeated good intentions. Scheduling time off for volunteers shows them that they’re valued and that we as leaders would like to place their well being (and families) above the needs of our ministries. Will you get pushback? Perhaps. But, It's better than burnout!
Scheduling is an important part of the volunteer discipleship journey. When we schedule them to serve, we are giving our people an opportunity to use their talents and abilities to serve the kingdom in BIG ways. From there, they can then start the discipleship process all over with others, and grow God's kingdom even more!
It’s great to schedule your volunteers at least a couple of weeks in advance. A common practice is to have your people scheduled one month out. This gives ample time for switching up schedules as needed.
This comes down to the level of expectation and commitment you are requiring. In our experience, once serving goes beyond 4-5 hours on a weekly basis, a gesture of a stipend would be much appreciated. It always comes down to what your volunteers are willing and able to do.
When dealing with the question of 1099’s and W-2’s, it’s best to reach out to your trusted tax professional. This helps ensure that your church is adhering to IRS law.
Because stipends are awards and not wages for services, Social Security and Medicare taxes are not withheld from them. Since stipends are considered taxable income, you typically need to pay taxes on them. We recommend reaching out to your local tax professional.
Start with word of mouth amongst your current volunteers. From there, get the word out with service announcements, bulletins, videos, social media, web forms, and more. Always have a universal church volunteer form.
Not everyone is best suited for a particular ministry or role. Be sure to affirm their willingness to serve, thank them, and be honest in love. However, instead of firing them, maybe suggest another volunteer opportunity in the church. We always want to strive for repurposing our volunteers.
With ChurchTrac, you can schedule your volunteers across all of your ministries. Use it to schedule your worship team, nursery workers, welcome team, and more. Not using ChurchTrac? Start your free trial of ChurchTrac today!
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