Children's ministry
How do you entice volunteers to stick around long term? (Lightstock)

Enticing volunteers to stick around for the long haul can be a challenging proposition. What's the secret? Here are 5 suggestions that might help:

1.  Sweet Spot. Make sure you place volunteers in their "sweet spot."  In other words, place them in roles they are gifted in and passionate about.

When you ask most new volunteers where they want to serve, they will say, "Wherever you need me." But don't place them "where you need them."  Place them where they are gifted and passionate. And a month later, go back and ask them if they are in their sweet spot. If they're not, let them try another area.

People who are in their sweet spot will stay long term.  People who are not in their sweet spot will eventually catch the "burnout" germ.

2.  Relationships. Relationships are the glue that keep people serving in your ministry.  Create an atmosphere of family. People who do life together will continue doing ministry together long term.

3.  Time off.  Give your volunteers breaks. Create windows of margin that will allow them to be gone. If you don't allow them to take a vacation occasionally from serving, they will retire early from serving in your ministry.

4.  Increased responsibility. Many times volunteers will get bored in their role after a number of years. Challenge them to go to the next level in serving. Give them a fresh challenge or more responsibility. If you don't, they'll go looking somewhere else for it. 

5.  Appreciation. Take time to regularly show your appreciation. Honor them. Thank them. Tell them. Your thank yous may be the difference between a person serving for 10 years instead of 1 year.

What are some other tips for keeping your volunteers long-term? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section below.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children's ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children's ministry. He is the coauthor of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children's Ministry.

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