By Graeme Spencer
We all know churches and ministries need volunteers to survive—and that is particularly true for media departments. But we also know that working with volunteers can be a challenge—particularly when things are busy.
It’s tempting to try to not use volunteers, but I’m guessing it’s very unlikely that your church could pay for all the crew needed to run their media output every Sunday; and so you must use volunteers. Even if you are fortunate enough to be able to pay all of your crew, I still believe volunteers should be a critical part of your infrastructure.
Why Do I Need Volunteers?
I’m glad you asked. I believe that by having professionals involved on your teams (paid or unpaid), your overall output will be better—and that IS important. But here are my five top reasons why I think you should always make room on your team for volunteers:
- They bring fresh (and often needed) impetus to your team. Sometimes seeing people who are talented but who perhaps know less than you or your more seasoned team can be a wake-up call for us to continue to learn and develop our skills—and we all need to keep learning.
- You are creating a space for people to explore their gifts and skill sets. What if part of our role in church media is to equip, inspire and give a start to the next generation of media professionals? I know people who started as church media volunteers, knowing little, but were keen to learn. Now they have a career and a great reputation in the industry.
- It will help you to continue to develop your own personal leadership skills. Having to work with volunteers and blend them into your team will help you to learn key skills like conflict resolution, open communication and the ability to be encouraging whilst also providing critical feedback.
- Providing a place for people to serve is a vital part of church life. It can engender a sense of ownership, commitment and community, and build real and deeper relationships than are possible in a larger context. This is something that can be particularly helpful in a big church.
- Often people in church wonder where they fit. I’m talking particularly about the creative types who may not want to get involved in the nursery or parking cars or even in hospitality—but they would love to get involved in something more creative (such as media). By not having a volunteer program, you would deprive them of their chance to find their place and grow in maturity.
I honestly believe a great volunteer program should be an essential part of every church media team. We should aim to build a program that every other department in the church is in envy of. Of course, that comes not just from having a volunteer program but also how we nurture and grow those volunteers. I’ll write about this again for Worship Facility soon.