How to Rally and Prepare Volunteers for Easter
Easter is your biggest celebration of the year. It’s one of the highest attended services, and the increase in people puts a lot of additional strain on your staff, volunteers, and facilities. So if you want your Easter services to go smoothly, it’s essential that you have plenty of volunteers and that everyone is equipped to serve with excellence.
Here’s how to rally and prepare volunteers for Easter.
Explain the need
Your congregation knows Easter is a busy time. They experience the changes every year. It’s harder to find parking and sit with a group, and many of the usual church elements—from worship and media to the sermon—feel different because your teams have invested more time, energy, and resources into preparing for these services.
But that doesn’t mean they know how much more work Easter services take or why you need their help.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, make sure you’ve taken time to highlight your church’s biggest volunteer needs and explain why your usual volunteer teams can’t handle it all on their own. Cast the vision, and discuss why having plenty of volunteers is crucial to your ability to make a good impression on visitors. Explore how volunteerism fits into your mission.
Share the opportunity
Some people are more than able to serve, but don’t see why they should. They assume someone else can meet your church’s needs—especially if you never ask them specifically to help. Blanket invitations from the pulpit and mass communications will only get you so far. Make sure you reach out to individuals too, so that everyone understands the opportunity, not just the need.
Volunteering is a valuable experience that cultivates personal growth, but people may not know that if you don’t help them see the connection. Have current volunteers share their stories about why they serve and what they’ve gained from the experience. Show people that serving isn’t just a way to meet your church’s needs—it’s a key step on their journey to spiritual maturity and a response to the gospel you’re celebrating together on Easter.
If you want to maximize volunteers, you need to set clear expectations before people sign up to help. Some people may hesitate to volunteer because they’re worried about making a long-term commitment. While you can use more volunteers year round, remember that more of them will show up on Easter Sunday if that’s all they’re agreeing to. Let them come and help this once, and then see if they’re interested in serving more. Remember: actually serving on a team is one of the biggest motivators for people to continue serving
You can also encourage people to help by letting them know what the process will be like after they sign up. Can they choose a role they’d like to serve in? How much training and preparation will they have? Is there a lot of paperwork? These are all basic questions that people may not ever actually ask, but by providing that information upfront, you can remove barriers to serving.
Meet in advance
Obviously, in order for volunteers to feel prepared they need time to learn about how their role works and what tasks they’ll be required to do. But more importantly, meeting with your new volunteers in advance allows time for them to get to know each other (and you). Community is an important part of serving together, but it’s easy to overlook, especially when you’re desperate for volunteers and people are expecting a more transactional experience. (I.e. “I show up at this time, do these things, and leave.”)
Encourage your veteran volunteers to make an effort to get to know the people stepping up to serve for the first time. Making friends can completely change someone’s volunteer experience, and it can determine whether or not they’ll be interested in serving again.
You can’t wait until the week before Easter to start assembling your teams. It may take several weeks for someone to warm up to the idea of volunteering, and you may need to use a few different approaches to inviting people to serve. Start incorporating volunteer recruiting into your services now, so when the time comes, you’ll have plenty of people ready and willing to help your church celebrate Easter well.
Get your free guide to finding, training, and keeping volunteers
Volunteering is one of the main ways people participate in your church’s mission. It’s an integral part of your ministries, and it’s extremely difficult to hold services without help. But finding, training, and keeping volunteers is a lot of work, and there are a lot of misconceptions about how to do those things well.
In our free ebook, The Definitive Guide to Finding, Training, and Keeping Volunteers, we examine what many pastors get wrong about their volunteers, how to prevent burnout, and what you need to do to have a healthy team.