For your ministry to become increasingly effective, you need your volunteers to learn and grow in their roles. Without growth, your ministry will quickly become stagnant and eventually may cease being effective at all. It can be a struggle, however, to convince volunteers to spend more of their time developing the gifts God gave them to serve Him.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to encourage your volunteers to make time in their schedule for learning and growing. Here are some of our favorites.
- Make learning and growing part of your ministry’s vision. Your ministry needs to acknowledge that helping young people build unshakeable faith foundations and reach their full godly potential is a top priority for Christians and the Church. In order to do that well, ministry volunteers need to fully develop their God given talents to teach and mentor by continually learning and growing. The best teachers are usually life long, enthusiastic learners as well. When your volunteers are continually reminded of this part of your ministry vision, they are more likely to participate in learning opportunities.
- Provide free learning materials. If your volunteers have to take the time to find an article or buy a book, they are less likely to actually read it. It just seems like too much effort. If they have the article or book provided by you, they will most likely place it where they will see it frequently. The cue of seeing the item you want them to read serves to remind them to actually take the time to read it.
- Host a book club. Instead of the latest fiction, why not read one of our best practices ebooks and discuss them as a group in someone’s home? It’s a great way to hold each other accountable, as well as reinforce key points. The more inviting you make the experience, the more likely they are to participate.
- Host meaningful training sessions. Why do most volunteers skip training sessions? Because they often contain so little useful content, they are viewed as a waste of time. Pack your training sessions with tons of content, guided practice and meaningful learning activities. When volunteers feel they have actually learned a lot, they are more likely to attend future sessions.
- Set an example. Find ways to regularly share what you are learning from your own learning experiences. What are you going to do differently in your ministry in the future based on what you have learned? If you aren’t learning and growing yourself, you can’t expect your volunteers to do it.
- Encourage volunteers to share what they are learning in a shared ministry space. Whether it’s a private group on social media or a private space on your website or in emails, find ways for volunteers to share what they are learning with each other. It’s a great way to get in quick little training tips and take advantage of positive peer pressure.
Making volunteer development a key priority in your ministry can enhance and improve your entire ministry. It’s worth taking a little extra time and effort to encourage your volunteers to constantly learn and grow.