Recruiting, Training, and Sustaining Volunteers: Intro

To have a fruitful ministry in which we are bringing people into a deeper relationship with God and the community, developing volunteers is an essential task for ministry leaders. Most parishes can only afford to hire a handful of full-time ministry leaders to move the mission of the church forward. Yet, as you know, there is so much to do in so little time. To truly be able to have an impact of the faithful that attend our church (and those who don’t attend that we need to evangelize), we need volunteers.

If I am doing this ministry all by myself without the help of others, it’s not much of a ministry. I need to surround myself with others that will compliment my strengths and weaknesses and will help to minister to the people in the pews.

I believe that there is an intentional process when we work with volunteers. Over the next several weeks (on Tuesday’s), I am going to be sharing with you about this process and how we can be more effective with our volunteers.

The process is quite simple to understand, but much harder to implement. I must spend intentional time recruiting, training, and then sustaining my volunteers.


1. Recruiting

I sometimes use the word “inviting” instead of recruiting. Recruiting sometimes has a negative connotation as we think about hounding people to help. The fact is that inviting volunteers to participate in ministry is much more, well, inviting. Inviting or recruiting volunteers is much more than bulletin articles and pulpit announcements. We will look at specific strategies that we can use to recruit and invite volunteers.


2. Training

All volunteers need training. I have yet to meet one that can walk onto the volunteer job and knows how to immediately do everything. That would be nice, but that is not realistic. I need to spend time equipping and empowering them to do their volunteer job well. Training can be as simple as sitting down with them and talking through the tasks, and as formal as sending them to a conference or workshop.


3. Sustaining

This is all about motivation. I just spent a lot of time recruiting and training this volunteer. Now, I want them to excel in their volunteer role and stay motivated to be part of the ministry. This can take work. You know as well as I that ministry work can be as tough as it is fulfilling. When a volunteer hits that rough patch, I need to support and serve them.


Over the next several weeks, we will go into these topics in more depth, offering practical strategies that will help.

However, there is more than one way to skin a cat (as the saying goes). You have a ton of ideas to offer in this series and I encourage you to do in the comments section. I’m going to learn a ton from you.

I hope you will find this series valuable.


John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.

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