If you’ve ever felt discouraged about creating an effective volunteer team, or finding people that can move your digital ministry forward, we are here to tell you from experience there is hope!
Welcome back to the Hybrid Church series! In this collection of articles, we’re exploring what makes up an effective Hybrid Church, shifts required to make a meaningful jump forward, and how you can prepare for (and enjoy) the journey ahead.
Does thinking about finding volunteers for your team this year make you squirm? Does it feel like an impossible task to find anyone to volunteer their time right now? If so, you’ve come to the right place!
In this series, we’ve been walking through how to move to a Hybrid Church Model and how to build your team to get there. Now, it’s time to dig into the topic of volunteers and specifically how to develop a digital volunteer team as you shift to a hybrid model.
(In case you missed our last article, we outline the three questions you need to ask BEFORE you start hiring or finding volunteers. We recommend reading that first, or at least check it out afterward to be sure you have cast the vision and that all your volunteers connect with your mission. Read it here.)
CAN WE DO THIS?
If you’ve ever felt discouraged about creating an effective volunteer team, or finding people that can move your digital ministry forward, we are here to tell you from experience there is hope! Time and time again, we’ve seen churches that have thought it was a lost cause create thriving volunteer ministries.
As you embark on this endeavor, remember to start small. No one has unlimited resources to staff their team and it will take time to build your volunteer team.
“Find people that can help you produce content. Because in the world of Hybrid Church and in the world of digital ministry, content is your connector. Content is the thing that helps people take spiritual next steps. Without content, you don’t have connection.”
Looking for the best place to start? Here's where you can see some quick wins:
If you want to lay the base for your digital ministry, it's important to find people that can help you produce content. These may be writers, photographers, and other people that can bring your digital ministry to life. In the world of Hybrid Church and digital ministry, content is your connector. Content is the thing that helps people take spiritual next steps. Without content, you don’t have connection.
SO... WHAT TYPE OF PERSON MAKES A GOOD DIGITAL VOLUNTEER?
The first characteristic that likely comes to your mind when you think of a good digital volunteer is probably their experience and skills with digital tools. But surprisingly, this isn't #1 on the list!
Here's what makes a good digital volunteer:
1) A good digital volunteer is someone who naturally connects with people and builds relationships.
You are going to need people who know how to be a “people person.” Someone who naturally has a presence that invites people in and makes them feel welcome. You’ll need both dreamers and doers in your digital volunteer team, but you should start by finding people that can help people get connected.
2) A good digital volunteer is someone that is flexible and self-motivated.
If you are just starting out with building your digital ministry, or even if you have been structuring it for a while, you likely don’t have a step-by-step manual on how a volunteer should perform the role you are looking for. This means you’ll need people who can take on a role and run with whatever you give them.
3) A good digital volunteer is someone that understands and is passionate about your digital ministry.
Your digital ministry is helping shift the mindset that ministry happens just during your physical service to a ministry that happens seven days a week. A good digital volunteer not only understands the Hybrid Church model, but also is passionate and creative about the possibility of bringing hope, support, and ministry throughout the other six days of the week.
OK... WHERE DO WE FIND THESE PEOPLE?
You may be tempted to put together a few job titles and send out an email blast to ask for volunteers. Whatever you do, don’t hit the send button on that email! You need to be intentional about who you recruit for your digital volunteer team.
Here’s how we recommend you start the process:
1) Make a list of the natural connectors and relationship-builders in your congregation.
You know the person that makes sure to welcome everyone at your physical service? Is there someone that is always making sure people feel welcomed online? Put these people on your list! Don’t forget to get input from your other ministry leaders to be sure you don’t miss anyone.
2) Narrow the list by who has the necessary skills for the role you are trying to fill.
If the role you are trying to fill requires using Facebook, you need to eliminate the people that do not have that skill. Remember: not every role will need special skills, but if you need compelling content for Instagram, you’ll definitely need someone with photography or design experience, or someone who has an eye for that type of media.
3) Get creative about where you look for help.
If you are struggling to find people for your list, it may be time to start thinking outside the box. Who is bringing the most value to your digital ministry now? Is there someone that is helping build community by posting good questions and encouraging others? Are you near a college where you could offer a digital internship? What are out-of-the-box ways you can engage new people in the ministry?
“Getting started, set the tone of excellence, figure out where you are headed, and tweak as you go. The momentum draws others in." - Jamie Shafer, Account Director
Whew! We just covered a lot, and I know this can be a little overwhelming, so I want to leave you with this: When all else fails, fall back on asking yourself, “What does our community need that will add value to their lives?” If you focus on finding volunteers who can help you bring value to your community, you’ll start to build the momentum necessary to connect people into the life of your church.
And friend, there is always hope.
We also covered this topic on a recent podcast episode. You can listen to the full episode here!
Up Next: Guest Experience Across Physical and Digital Realms of Ministry