8 Practical Ways To Love Your Volunteers

Everyone wants to be believed in, to be loved, to be encouraged and to belong.

To lead volunteers well, we must genuinely believe in their potential to do great things as part of the body of Christ. According to the Bible, the depth, power and impact of their calling to build the local church is hard to overstate: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a necessary part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

But knowing how important it is to love our volunteers doesn’t mean we’re demonstrating how much we love our volunteers.

God is clear that our words, actions and reactions flow out of our hearts (Luke 6:45). If our hearts are in the right place, we must intentionally show we truly care (1 John 4:18).

Here are a few ways to show our volunteers genuine love:

  1. See people. Value their time.
    When you’re talking to a volunteer, focus on them. Look them in the eyes. Make them feel like they are the only person in the room.
     
  2. Remember their name. Use it.
    Everyone loves to hear their own name. Calling someone by name makes them feel important and shows you care about them as an individual.
     
  3. Listen. Value their voice.
    Ask volunteers questions and listen. Build rapport with them. Ask them about their life, their family, their job, their story. Everyone loves to share their story. Wanting to know them lets them know you care.
     
  4. Never say goodbye. Follow-up.
    Say thank you! The power of a personal message cannot be understated. Send a short hand-written note, a text or an email after a conversation with someone. Let them know it was great to see them. Add a personal thought in the note from your conversation. This reinforces that you listen to them and you care.
     
  5. Be a roadblock. Create connections.
    Relationships need touchpoints. Put yourself in the path of the people you serve alongside. This allows for continued conversations, which reinforces the idea that people are more important than the tasks you've asked them to complete.
     
  6. Actions speak louder than words. Be an example.
    Never ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do. Although volunteers are necessary for us to be successful, serving shoulder to shoulder goes a long way. Be willing to step up and help. Allow volunteers to see your passion in serving, not just instructing. In John 13, Jesus set the example of servant leadership by washing the disciples feet. It works!
     
  7. Voice appreciation.
    Say, “Thank you.” Say, “I love you.” Say, “I love serving beside you.” Say, “I'm so thankful for all you do.” Say what you feel. Never assume that people know these things. In a fast-paced, technology-driven, dog-eat-dog world, people don't hear they matter enough. Let their volunteer opportunity be the exception. Encourage them continually. Build them up. Believe in them. Be the exception to the world’s rules.
     
  8. See the individual.
    Love each person right where they are, for who they are, the way they are. Pray you see them the way Jesus sees them. Help them figure out their next step in their walk with Jesus. This makes serving exciting and enhances relationships.

In today's world, most people are viewed as a means to an end. Do you want people to volunteer, to tithe, to lead a group? If that's your only motivation for seeing people plugged into the church, then your motives are not pure, and your core group of volunteers will fade.

Our motivation must be to connect people to God and to each other.

Serving is one of the best ways for an individual to connect to the church after salvation. The Church is the body of Christ, and serving enables volunteers to perform the role they were created for by a holy God.

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