How to Train Volunteers for Church Services After Quarantine
Once your congregation comes back from quarantine, the inner workings of your church are going to be different. Church operations aren’t going to look like they did before. However, there are going to be just as many needs to fill. You are going to need your trusted volunteers now more than ever.
This resource is here to help you as you seek to train your volunteer teams for church after quarantine.
New Volunteer Roles
It will probably be a while before volunteers find themselves in the nursery and Sunday School classrooms again. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do. As you seek to lead your church after quarantine, here are some new volunteer roles to consider:
One of the most important roles in a post-quarantine world is going to be keeping your space clean and sanitized. It’s a straightforward, yet potentially life-saving task.
Whereas, we may all know how to clean-up, disinfecting is a different ballgame. Refer to the CDC recommendations to ensure you’re training custodial volunteers in the proper manner.
Additionally, these are the volunteers who could be in charge of ordering and stocking your church’s cleaning supplies and PPE. Make sure you know how much hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, cleaning solutions, and supplies you will need. Communicate those needs to your volunteers. Ensure they are maintaining proper levels.
This might be a good opportunity for those volunteers who were previously on the welcome or greeter teams. They can still be the first smiling faces that guests and regular attendees see. Although, if they’re doing their jobs right, that smile will safely be tucked behind a proper face covering.
Coach these volunteers on how to gently, but persistently, encourage attendees to wear a mask. Ensure they have an adequate supply of extra masks to distribute. Of course, guide these volunteers to lead with patience and etiquette when encouraging churchgoers to be masked. However, you should also empower them to remind attendees that they will not be permitted access without a mask. (We’ll address corporately communicating policies later.)
Safety & Security
Though it’s unlikely that a mask disagreement will get out of control, it is a good idea to prepare your safety and security volunteers to be available for such interactions. Also, this is a good time to introduce (or reintroduce) your welcome team volunteers to the safety and security team.
Ensure safety and security volunteers are considering the heightened emotions during these stressful times. They could potentially be needed when least expected. And, although they’re probably always at the ready, don’t hesitate to over communicate their duties and responsibilities (and their limits). These volunteers are vital to operations, but are not immune to the stress of our current situation.
This volunteer team is responsible for ensuring that proper social distancing practices are being implemented. Work with these volunteers and help them understand how many pews or chairs need to be blocked from use. So that your people can maintain the proper distances between one another.
These volunteers can also help by designing and clearly identifying a traffic pattern; the path congregants ought to follow when moving about the church building.
Though they may not be able to meet and instruct the younger church members in person, that doesn’t mean your children’s ministry volunteers can’t still serve in this capacity. Encourage this team to get creative with how they design and distribute curriculum and other materials. Imagine how excited the kids would be to receive their very own care package in the mail. Complete with lessons, coloring pages, crafts to do at home, and more. (I think the parents in your church might be thrilled too.)
Don’t make assumptions about church volunteers upon their return from quarantine
When your team returns to serve within the church building, they will bring with them the full spectrum of feelings: feelings about certain policies and procedures, about how things ‘ought’ to be done, longing for things to go back to normal, fear and anxiety, excitement to be back together, and everything between.
When training and preparing volunteers for post-quarantine service, don’t make any assumptions about their attitudes. Pastor and counsel them as you need and focus on reminding them of the deeper purpose they as volunteers serve.
Help them catch the vision of loving and serving their neighbor.
In every role and responsibility; in every duty and task, regardless of how seemingly simple or menial they may be, your volunteers are working to facilitate a safe and welcoming environment where they and their friends & families can worship and be served by the Lord.
Reminding your volunteers of the privilege and blessing of being able to love and serve their neighbor can be a powerful motivator for them to effectively fulfill their offices.
Make your communications clear and thorough.
Let’s end at the beginning. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to best ensure your volunteer training will be effective is to communicate clearly. You’re probably a pro at congregational updates at this point. Don’t stop now. Communicate early and often about what your church’s expectations are, what you’re doing to protect one another, and how everyone can chip in.
Be bold. Be clear. Be loving. Don’t be afraid to do the right thing. Remember, the safety, sanitation, setup, and security protocols you’ve instituted are for everyone’s benefit. (Even if they don’t like it.) Don’t be afraid to be specific. Telling your people what to expect will help put everyone at ease. Also, don’t be afraid to communicate the love and concern you have for your flock. They can’t hear it enough.
If you would like more guidance on re-opening your church for public gathering, take a look at our checklist Questions Your Church Should Answer Before Gathering Again. This resource is designed to help you examine virtually every aspect of your services and prepare for the challenges of meeting again, in a post-quarantine world.