4 Reasons Church Volunteers Need Job Descriptions

by | Jan 12, 2023 | Administration, Leadership, volunteers

Whether your church has paid staff or your volunteers make everything happen, clarity is essential for everyone on your team.

When everyone has a clear understanding of their jobs and responsibilities, ministry runs smoother. Let this be true for church staff and volunteers alike. You have important volunteer jobs to fill, and it’s equally important that they have a well-defined job description.

Volunteer job descriptions do much more than provide an explanation of duties. Here are four reasons it’s worth the time and effort to create job descriptions for church volunteers.

#1 —Outline expectations

Research has shown that people who experience job clarity are 53% more efficient and 27% more effective at work than those who have job ambiguity. It’s clear that when people have a clear understanding of their tasks and responsibilities, they do a better job.

Set your church volunteers up for success by outlining what you expect from them in a job description. Summarize the purpose of their job and list the responsibilities they would have. Someone should be able to look at the job description and answer: “What does this job do?” and “Are my skills and passions aligned with the need this job is expected to fill?”

#2—Confirm their place in the big picture

Where does this volunteer job fit in the overall mission of the church? It helps people to connect with their job when they can see their place in what God is doing through the church.

Use the volunteer job description as a space to communicate how they would serve God and advance the church’s mission in this job. In what ways would they contribute to the difference the church wants to make in the community and the world? How would serving in this job display Jesus to others and advance the gospel?

#3—Answer the 5 W’s

At a young age, many of us learned about the 5 W’s of storytelling. The 5 W’s are a helpful guide to writing church volunteer job descriptions, too.

  • Who – Who does this volunteer report to? Whom do they supervise?
  • What – What are their responsibilities?
  • Where – Where do they need to be on Sundays and during the week?
  • When – When do they need to be available and for how long?
  • Why – Why does this job matter?

These questions will undoubtedly cross a volunteer’s mind. Help them get a clear picture of the job by making sure to answer the 5 W’s.

#4—Accountability for leadership

Your church’s volunteers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a job description. Yes, having a job description for a volunteer shows that you’ve thought it through. Yes, putting this effort in communicates to a volunteer how important this job is.

But the process of creating a volunteer job description is great accountability for church leadership, too.  It ensures that church leaders put time into designing the volunteer role. It forces ministry department leaders to be intentional about what they’re asking this volunteer to do.

What to include in a volunteer job description

Now that we’ve established why volunteer job descriptions are worth creating, let’s discuss how to create an effective one. We believe that every role description for a church volunteer should answer the following questions.

What is the purpose of this role?

Every volunteer job description should be able to explain why the role exists. Use this section of the role description to share what type of need this volunteer with help with and how the role fits into the mission of the church.

It’s human nature to want to know that the work you’re doing matters for something and to someone. Make sure volunteers know why the role is so necessary.

Who does this volunteer report to and supervise?

In any type of role, it’s helpful to know who you should go to when you have questions and if you’ll be required to manage others. Some volunteers are team leaders who will help supervise other volunteers, so it’s important to make that clear on the job description.

When is this volunteer expected to serve? How long?

It’s easier for people to commit to something that has an end date. This detail is often left out, but including the length of service is a helpful tool in volunteer recruitment. For example, even if you hope the volunteer will continue to serve for years, tell them they can sign on for shorter periods (such as 3–6 months).

You could also treat it like an annual review and plan to evaluate the role every year, which would give the volunteer a chance to say whether it’s still a good fit for them.

What does this volunteer need to do?

This list doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but it should give the volunteer a realistic picture of what the typical responsibilities of their role are. If there are any special qualifications they should have (such as technical experience or a childcare certification), this is also the best place to mention that.

Church volunteers are one of the most essential pieces of church operations. By giving their job descriptions the same type of care you would give to posting a paid job ad, you can grant them the level of role clarity that every team member deserves.

This article first appeared in Church Fuel.

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