By definition, a volunteer is someone who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest. Volunteering as the general public knows it, is the charitable work done within an organization or group by an individual without monetary pay or compensation. Often within a church, volunteers are members that want to use their talents or their background, to aid the church and fulfill its needs with service and actions rather than money.
Volunteers act as a ministry working together to obtain the services of those who wish to give of themselves through selfless actions without reimbursement.
The general concept behind volunteers in the church is to willingly serve in the capacities that the church requires to best serve the congregation, but for whatever reason cannot fill.
Church volunteers can be responsible for numerous duties. Typically Sunday school teachers, church nursery workers, choir participants and church musicians are all volunteers.
Leaders within the church such as those who lead worship, youth ministry, teen groups and children’s choir are often volunteers, and sometimes have children within these groups. Other internal volunteer leaders can include ushering, greeting guests and members, organizing fellowship hours or luncheons following the service
Administrative duties can be taken on by volunteers as well. Often, websites, e-marketing and Internet issues are handled by volunteers that are tech-savvy. Typing the program and constructing bulletins or flyers may be handled by a volunteer administrative support team.
The general upkeep of both the worship center and church grounds may be taken on by a volunteer team. They may be responsible for repairing the choir robes or pew cushions, polishing wood or metal within the building, cleaning the windows or maintaining the interior as well as mowing the lawns, trimming trees and shrubbery, keeping up with the seasonal décor and exterior lighting.
Volunteers benefit from flexible hours, since Sunday is the main time constraint, but have the luxury of being able to give freely of their time. Volunteers usually work within a field they enjoy, and are using their backgrounds and experiences to further the church. For example, a former music teacher may now lead the children’s choir, or a retired accountant may help the church office with its finances at tax time. Another benefit would be that there is no lay-offs or termination with being a volunteer. Churches always welcome members and guests alike to donate their time and service.
Volunteers seek little to no compensation, other than the internal satisfaction of completion of a task. Volunteering can be a secondary responsibility and may be overlooked when a primary job calls for overtime or additional hours to be worked. The volunteer force itself may change overtime as members grow or move away. Leaders of volunteers may find it challenging to schedule volunteers into a definite time period since they are willingly giving up their available time, and other situations may call for their attendance or attention.
Since volunteers are not paid monetarily, some churches log volunteer hours for statistical use. If teens or young adults are volunteering, many of them can use their hours towards school requirements.
Some leaders within the volunteer ministry may be paid a salary or hourly rate to organize and delegate the volunteer force. This position, sometimes called a Director of Volunteers, or Volunteer Coordinator, may be compensated with additional benefits such as insurance or continued education in volunteerism.
The church is always looking for additional volunteers. Other duties needing attention may including picking up and dropping off elderly members or those without cars, fulfilling outreach missions such as food basket delivery or prayer groups.