How to Encourage Church Members to Serve & Volunteer


Service and volunteerism are integral parts of the Bible’s teachings. Therefore, church leaders do their best to advocate for these in their own ministry. However, many church leaders are left scratching their heads about how to encourage church members to serve and volunteer. 

How do you instill the value of service in your church members’ hearts? 

The answer isn’t as profound as you might think. It’s as simple as providing them with opportunities to serve so they can assist with projects that help them feel they are making a social impact.

Read on to discover how to transform your church members into volunteers—not just within your congregation but within the community. 

How to Encourage Church Members to Serve: 7 Tips to Apply

Based on research findings from Gallup, only 35% of Americans participated in volunteer activities for their religious groups in 2021. This was down 3% from the previous year and significantly declined from 44% in 2017.

It has never been as important as it is now to learn how to encourage church members to serve and volunteer. 

Here are our best tips to help you along the way…

1. Talk about the Benefits We Receive from Service to Others

Unless you have a megachurch, your church is probably one of many that struggle with volunteer involvement, although larger churches aren’t immune from this issue either. 

When you set out to increase your volunteer rate, the most important thing to remember is that it’s all about culture. You must adopt the Biblical principles of marketing within your church—not just when trying to bring more people into your organization. 

That means instilling the culture of service among members of your church.

There’s no shortage of Bible verses that talk about the value of serving others. You can incorporate these Bible teachings into your sermons and your messaging platforms, such as when writing your email marketing campaigns, newsletters, and even your church’s social media presence. Applying the teachings of the Bible is a reliable approach to encouraging church members to serve. 

Here are some benefits to serving that you can highlight in your sermons to light the fire of volunteerism in your members: 

Serving should be woven into the very fabric of your congregation. If you can achieve that, everything else will follow suit. This is often easier said than done, but the work you do to instill a culture of service in your members’ minds will have significant payoffs in the long run. 

2. Get Them Thinking by Asking Them Questions

You can also reach out to your church members and talk to them about what’s stopping them from volunteering. This is a good opportunity for you to learn directly from your members about how you can devise new approaches to increase volunteers. 

Here are some questions that you can ask your members to encourage discussion about serving: 

Asking such questions helps your members reconnect with the gospel. It gives them the opportunity to reflect on how they can advance the kingdom of Jesus and make a lasting impact on the community and those who belong to it. 

3. Host Fun Events to Get Their Toes Wet

A female volunteer holding canned goods while smiling at her fellow female volunteer.

Knowing how to encourage church members to serve is all about keeping them motivated. While the Bible teaches about stewardship and following God’s example, it is part of human nature to seek something in return for what we give. 

One of the best ways to do that is to create an engaging environment where serving becomes fun, not a chore. For example, you can organize a fundraiser activity in a local restaurant and hold a trivia night or public auction.

Another creative idea for a volunteer project is to host a fun run or marathon event for a specific cause. You can also hold a product drive wherein you encourage members of your church to collect essential supplies from their families and friends for those in need. Another idea is to hold a bake sale to raise funds for organizations that support people with disabilities in the local community. 

Focus on inspiring your congregation to become involved in a fun yet creative manner. You can also tap into people’s passions and skills to help them showcase their talents while doing good to make it a more rewarding experience. 

4. Express the Impact Your Missions Make

Appeal to the emotions of your church members. Address them in sermons and your communication channels about the missions you are embarking on—and encourage them to partake in those missions.

Emphasize the difference that your mission is making so you can attract, inspire, and motivate volunteers. Knowing how to encourage church members to serve is about making them feel they contribute something of value to their society.

Make sure you highlight the passion behind your “why” rather than just focusing on the “what.” Show them photos of the people your mission impacts and tell stories about how it has changed their lives.

Stories are what pull on our heartstrings, so you can keep the spirit of service alive in your congregation by sharing these stories of impact.

5. Make Members Aware of Service Opportunities

Often, church leaders and staff forget the most important part of how to encourage church members to serve—making them aware that their help is needed. After all, if members don’t know what outreach efforts the church is involved in or how to sign up, they won’t contribute. That’s why you need to keep your congregation informed.

In addition to speaking on the topic during Sunday service, you should use other channels to spread the message wide. 

Here are a few examples:

Simply ensuring your church’s and community’s needs are communicated to members can significantly affect how many step forward to help.  

6. Offer Training

The lack of volunteerism in the church is not always due to a lack of interest among members. Some simply don’t know how or where to get started. 

This is an opportunity to provide training for your church members who have expressed interest in serving. Focus on providing training that will enhance their skills so you can maximize them for the greater good.

Providing opportunities for growth is a two-pronged approach to knowing how to encourage church members to serve because it benefits your volunteers as well. Once they have the skills to make a difference, they will be eager to put those skills to good use so they can make a positive social impact. 

32 tips guide

7. Empower & Inspire through Your Example & Your Message

If there’s one thing the Bible teaches, it’s to lead by example. It’s crucial for you, as a church leader, to adopt this mindset. You can motivate your church members to serve and volunteer by showing them how it’s done. 

When you show people “how” to do things, it’s easy to follow the example you’ve set. 

But perhaps the most important thing to remember about leading by example is to do for others with enthusiasm. Too often, church leaders are focused on the end goal—driving service in the church—that they overlook the means to the end. 

For many people, volunteering has become a boring, uninviting endeavor. You can change that by radiating your enthusiasm so that others feel empowered to take on the same approach to serving. 

Knowing how to encourage church members to serve is not the only goal here. Make sure they do it with enthusiasm and vigor because that’s when the act of serving becomes rewarding. In turn, they’ll seek out that rewarding feeling and be driven to serve more. 

Plus, enthusiasm is contagious, so it will inspire others to volunteer as well. 

Final Thoughts

Overcoming the challenge of how to encourage church members to serve is only the first step. You must be able to sustain that and develop it into a culture of service in your church. This is the only way you can guarantee that you have your church members’ full commitment to assist in projects that forward the cause of your church and make a true impact in the community.If you need assistance with encouraging volunteerism or growing your church, we can help! Our team can help you build a solid strategy to grow your ministry and achieve its goals. Learn about our church marketing services today!


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