You can’t forget to do these 4 things with your volunteers this Christmas

You may not have this on your radar at all this Christmas, but if you don’t, you might forfeit one of your best opportunities to onboard new volunteers next year. Why? Because Christmas is a time when people who don’t yet serve are open to serving and when they do, they have an opportunity to experience what Serina who serves on our Guest Central Team did. This email blew me away, so i am sharing it with you in its entirety:

We call our volunteers “Change Makers” and they are all over during Christmas services at our church directing parking, handing out gifts, performing on stages, and taking photos of guests.

We call our volunteers “Change Makers” and they are all over during Christmas services at our church directing parking, handing out gifts, performing on stages, and taking photos of guests.

Hi Greg! I'm one of the volunteers at Guest Central after 10:30 service.  A few weeks ago a couple came to the booth - the husband and wife were new to the area, if I'm remembering correctly.  The wife, Myrna, was a long-time church goer, but she said she just got her husband to come along.  I got the impression that he was having a struggle in that moment so I just gently shared about Next Steps and Small Groups and welcomed them repeatedly.  After they left I found they were on my mind a bit, so I prayed for them a few times over the next few days.  Then last weekend I saw him briefly while passing in the hallway and was happy to see they'd returned - even if only for the free coffee in the cafe with the cards I'd mailed.  ;)  

Well, you can imagine my utter elation when today at the 9am service I saw Myrna AND HER HUSBAND get baptized!!!  I choked on tears of joy when it was shared that they felt "welcomed" and "connected" at Eastside like no church before.  I was overjoyed when I left the sanctuary and they were in the hallway.  I got to tap them on the shoulder and say how happy I was for them and remind them that we'd met their first day there.  We hugged in the hallway and I thanked God for that moment of encouragement.  I now know that the small little serving job I have at Eastside really is impacting lives and possibly helping to change them forever.  We don't often get to see the people again that we greet on their first day.  Today I saw first-hand how every little thing we do helps to further His Plan.  Just thought I'd share this with you.  :) In His Service, Serina


Hearing stories like this is why we do what we do. But it made me ask myself this question:

What can we do with volunteers this Christmas that will impact them as much as the guests who attend?

I came up with four.

  1. Ask new people to serve at Christmas.

    Invite anyone and everyone to help serve others at Christmas through your services and community outreaches. These new people come in two main categories: new people to your church and people in your church who have never served before. Both need to be assimilated! Both need to experience a deeper level of community that only comes by throwing a towel over their arm alongside others. Both kinds are needed simply because God has brought both kinds to your church for a purpose.

“New people come in two main categories: new people to your church and people in your church who have never served before. Both need to be assimilated.”

2. Give them the “why” of their role, not just the “what”.

It is tempting to just tell people what to do in their volunteer role, and neglect to tell them the part that captures their hearts: why they are doing it. I am telling you that Serina may never have caught the real vision behind what she does had it not been clearly and enthusiastically shared by our captains and by our volunteer Guest Central Director Andy Coles who works at Disneyland, but serves at our church. Andy could make you feel good about using the restroom on Tuesdays. There is greater purpose however when Andy makes you feel good about what you do and where you do it because you know why you’re doing it. Find a way to give every team the real “why” behind their service this Christmas-the thing they can expect to see when they do what they do.

“It is tempting to just tell people what to do in their volunteer role, and neglect to tell them the part that captures their hearts: why they are doing it”.

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3. Wow your volunteers.

With all the focus on wowing your guests, don’t forget to wow those who are serving them. Each year, we host a Thanksgiving Appreciation Dinner for our volunteers where we share stories like Serina’s and give them a special gift. But at Christmas, the one thing I love to experience most with our volunteers is time in our volunteer lounge. Shelly Hall, our Guest Services Director, turns one of our large Children’s Meeting Rooms into a lounge for volunteers who serve during multiple Christmas services (we will have 25 services across 4 campuses this year alone). In that lounge we pump Christmas music in, have arcade games available to play, tables to sit at and enjoy each others company, and serve fantastic food provided by various restaurant owners who attend our church. It is really a glorified Green Room for volunteers to share what they are seeing happen outside, laugh and connect, eat drink and be merry.

“With all the focus on wowing your guests, don’t forget to wow those who are serving them.”

It also makes possible this all important fourth thing….

4. Ask them to serve next year.

You should have a percentage goal of people serving at Christmas who have never served before. But you should also expect a percentage of those people to become an ongoing member of a ministry team next year. Craft an “ask” that your team leaders can use as new volunteers finish their first experience serving to see who might want to continue in a similar role in the coming year. They have already had on the job training. Why waste that? Why not do something that could result in 20% or more of them being added to your community of volunteers in the near future?

“Craft an ‘ask’ that your team leaders can use as new volunteers finish their first experience serving to see who might want to continue in a similar role in the coming year. They have already had on the job training. Why waste that?”

Christmas is simply an opportunity you cannot pass up to raise up an army of servants to fulfill Jesus’ vision for your church. Don’t miss it.

For my best resource on how to connect volunteers next year and much, much more, click here.

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  • If you could only do 1 of the 4 things mentioned above this Christmas, which one would it be? Why?

  • Which one could you do well next Easter or Christmas if you planned ahead? When on the calendar next year will you you begin the planning for this?

  • What is one thing you could do to “wow” your volunteers this Christmas and make them look forward to serving again?



Greg CurtisComment