When you have a volunteer shortage (church wide or in a specific department) I think there are at least three questions you should ask:
1. Are you asking God for volunteers?
If you need more volunteers, the answer begins with prayer. James 4:2 says “You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” And Matthew 9:38 says “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Step one is to pray for more volunteers.
2. Are you prepared for the volunteers should God send them your way?
Once you begin praying you need to begin preparing. What does faith look like once you’ve prayed for God to send you more volunteers? It looks like you writing out clear job descriptions of exactly what you want the people to do that God sends your way. You’ve got to have a plan of how you’ll use the people that God sends to you – cause if you don’t use them you lose them. I did an exercise recently, where on the dry erase board in my office I wrote the question: How would I utilize 2 hours of volunteer help a week? How would I utilize 4 hours of volunteer hours a week? How would I use 10 hours of volunteer help a week? How would I use 20 hours of volunteer help a week? How would I use 40 hours of volunteer help a week? I was able to answer the first question (2 hours a week). I could still answer the second question, but it was harder (4 hours a week). And I had no idea how to utilize 10 hours of help a week. Interestingly enough – I have 4 hours of volunteer help a week. This is the law of spiritual preparedness at work – God won’t send us more than we are ready for! So…once you pray for more help, it’s time to prepare for more help.
3. Are you asking people to serve?
Once you’ve bathed the need in prayer, and sufficiently prepared, now it’s time to make the need known. Once you’ve prayed and are now ready for the volunteers, now it’s time to begin asking people to serve! If you have trouble asking people to help you may want to read my post The Big Ask here.
If you’ll ask God for volunteers, have a plan of how you’ll use them once they come and then actually invite people to serve, I believe your volunteer famine will turn into a volunteer feast!