7 Resources to Help Pastors Manage Volunteers

7 Resources to Help Pastors Manage Volunteers

Volunteers are an essential part of your church. Without them, your ministries would be hamstrung, your staff would be overburdened, and your church would struggle to live out its calling. 

Volunteering is also a valuable component of your church member journey. So it’s important for you and your staff to cultivate a strong volunteer culture and develop the skills to manage your volunteers well. Whether managing volunteers is a major or minor aspect of your job, it’s a responsibility you need to take seriously.

We’ve picked seven resources to help you:

  • See the value of the individual Christ-followers in your church
  • Empower your church members to do ministry
  • Develop new leaders
  • Adopt a modern approach to volunteer management
  • Navigate the logistics of recruiting, vetting, training, and getting the most from your volunteers

You’ll want to share some of these resources with your volunteer teams. Others are geared toward people like you: staff who oversee volunteers and make decisions that affect them. Check them out below.

1. The Church Podcast

Format: Podcast

On The Church Podcast, Christopher Wesley and John Rinaldo use their decades of ministry experience and formal leadership education to discuss all things ministry. They’ve built up a suite of free episodes packed with insights about:

  • Creating a culture of hospitality
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Fostering creativity
  • Avoiding volunteer burnout
  • Developing relationships with your volunteers
  • Firing volunteers

This is a resource that will only continue to grow as Wesley and Rinaldo produce more episodes. You can subscribe to The Church Podcast or simply browse their volunteer-related episodes.

2. Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God

Author: Greg Ogden

Format: Print, audiobook, Kindle

Greg Ogden brings more than 20 years of pastoral experience to his books about discipleship and church leadership. In Unfinished Business, Ogden breaks down the barriers that lead Christians to view ministry as the responsibility of the clergy, and challenges readers to see the church as an organism, not an institution.

This book will shape the way your church talks about volunteering and ministry, and it would be wise for volunteers (or would-be volunteers) to read it as well.

3. Connect: How to Double Your Number of Volunteers

Author: Nelson Searcy

Format: Print, Kindle

Nelson Searcy is the lead pastor of The Journey Church and the founder of Church Leader Insights, where he trains church leaders. Connect is a book that draws from his experience and focuses on how to create a thriving church volunteer culture. Searcy focuses on helping your church members see the value of volunteering, taking steps to get and keep more volunteers, and ensuring that you’re using volunteers in the most helpful ways.

4. Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development

Author: Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck

Format: Print, audiobook, Kindle

Eric Geiger is the senior pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California, and the bestselling author of Simple Church. Together with Pastor Kevin Peck of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, he wrote Designed to Lead to help churches recognize that every person is called to lead somewhere, and that the church plays a role in helping people discover their leadership potential.

5. Body Life: The Book That Inspired a Return to the Church’s Real Meaning and Mission

Author: Ray C. Stedman

Format: Print, Kindle

Ray Stedman was the pastor of Peninsula Bible Church for forty years, and he is the author of several books. Body Life is often considered a classic Christian book about the early church’s radical community, and the ways modern churches can follow their model. Focusing on New Testament Christianity, Body Life offers personal and practical insights into what it means to be part of the body of Christ.

6. The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer

Author: Jonathan McKee and Thomas W. McKee

Format: Print, Kindle

Jonathan McKee has more than two decades of youth ministry experience. Thomas W. McKee is a well-known volunteer management speaker and consultant. Together, they wrote The New Breed to help churches understand how expectations are changing about what it means to be a volunteer, and how volunteering works. This book will empower you to make volunteering flexible and meaningful, so you can develop a thriving pool of modern volunteers.

7. The Ultimate Guide for Managing Church Volunteers

Author: Jayson D. Bradley

Format: Blog post

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer, pastor, and church planter in the Pacific Northwest. The Ultimate Guide for Managing Church Volunteers synthesizes everything you need to:

  • Prepare for volunteers
  • Build your team
  • Motivate your volunteers
  • Prevent burnout
  • Show your appreciation
  • Let go of volunteers when it isn’t working

This free guide is packed with the insights you need to navigate these relationships and become confident in your ability to manage volunteers.

Use your human resources wisely

Every resource we have at our disposal comes from God. We are stewards, entrusted to wisely use his resources for his purposes. That includes the people sitting in your pews and serving on your teams. Your church can’t expect to use your financial resources wisely if you aren’t keeping up with advances in financial wisdom, and the same is true for the human resources God has given you. You need to continually equip yourself to develop leaders, create a culture of service, and manage people wisely.

Get the original research about volunteerism straight from the lips of over 1,200 church staff and volunteers. Download the free ebook, the Definitive Guide to Finding, Training, and Keeping Church Volunteers today. In it, you’ll discover the 7 hidden factors to creating a healthy, sustainable volunteer culture that grows your church and prevents burnout before it happens.

volunteer ebook cta

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson has been a volunteer youth leader with Young Life for nearly a decade. He writes in the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his wife and twin boys.