Leading Toward Service: Starting the New Year Off Right

For most of us, January brings about a renewed desire to set goals, reestablish priorities, and begin healthy routines (again). Social media is full of encouragement to begin a new exercise regimen, get more sleep and eat our vegetables. Scrolling through any feed you’ll find one advertisement after another for “challenges” that promise to make a healthier you in the New Year.new year

This focus and determination are part of what marks the beginning of a new calendar year for most of us. This crosses over into our spiritual lives as well. We want to develop spiritual practices that strengthen our relationship with the Lord, and many people begin to show a heightened interest in attending church and even a desire to become more involved through volunteering. 

Churches are wise to begin the year understanding this interest and desire for connection to the church body. January is an ideal time to communicate anew the core values of your church. Many churches will have a sermon series to begin the New Year that covers the core values in detail. 

Since people are setting goals, evaluating their schedules, and looking at how they spend their time, January is also a great time of year to emphasize volunteer opportunities within your church.

Asking some of your faithful volunteers to share why they volunteer and what they do in their volunteer role is a great way to communicate serving opportunities. You can make and share videos on your church’s social media and/or have the volunteers share in person during a service. Personal testimony is a powerful thing.

If membership is required for volunteering at your church, then it’s important to make sure you offer your membership class more than once in the first few months of the year and provide childcare. You could offer a class in the evening, one during the day on a weekday, and many churches have had success holding membership classes during regular service time. People are already planning on being at church and childcare is already in place. If your church has a big enough space to hold a membership class while a regular service is going on, it can be very successful.

Since there are many roles volunteers fill at each church, some churches will hold a ministry fair. This is a time when people can learn about the different volunteer areas, find out what that role involves and speak with the ministry team leader. The beginning of the year is a great time to offer this so those who have never volunteered can learn more and also give members who are currently filling one volunteer role the opportunity to check out other areas where they might want to serve.

No matter how you communicate volunteer opportunities, it’s imperative to make the process easy to navigate and your communication clear.

Make sure to give people multiple ways to sign up for a membership class. If training is needed once they sign up to volunteer, streamline the process so they can begin volunteering as soon as possible.  You don’t want to lose volunteers because you fail to communicate in a timely manner or the process is so complicated that they become discouraged and decide not to serve after all.

We all want 2020 to be a year rich in personal and spiritual growth. We look to our church leaders to come alongside us as we pursue this and set goals for the year ahead. 

Spending time in January emphasizing your church’s core values and highlighting volunteer opportunities, as well as the reasons to serve, are a great way to lead your congregation into the New Year. 

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1 Comment
  • Pamela Frost Posted January 28, 2020 11:20 am

    Our church tends to hold “membership meetings”, or as we call them, prospective new member gatherings, several times a year, usually starting in September. This has given me ideas on holding these gatherings sooner in the year, and more often! The volunteer management process in Realm seems cumbersome to us, but it may just be lack of understanding the process. When it comes to volunteers, the most important thing, it seems to us, is to leverage initial enthusiasm right away. If people aren’t asked soon after they offer, they tend to drift away and are less likely to yes “Yes” when you ask them to step in later on!
    Pam Frost, Dir. Ministry & Mission

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