How to Keep Your Volunteers Motivated During a Pandemic

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Many, if not most, churches are struggling with keeping their volunteers engaged during this pandemic. Especially, the faithful, senior adults who have served so well over the years.

Many are cautious about returning to their volunteer role until there is a vaccine or antidote for the virus.

This is understandable, especially among our senior adult volunteers. And our first priority should be to keep them safe and use caution about bringing them back into their pre-virus roles.

If you don't keep your volunteer team motivated during this time, it can lead to a decline in volunteer engagement.

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So the big question is, how do you keep your volunteer team engaged and motivated as they wait for it to be safe enough for them to serve again?

If you are struggling with this, don't worry. Most churches are. We definitely have to learn how to lead well during this time. Let's look at some helpful ideas that can help you keep your volunteers motivated enough to come back after they get the clearance to do so.

Keep the vision alive. Most of your volunteers are serving because they want to be part of the vision you have put before them. Keep going back to that vision. Keep the "why" in front of them. How the vision is accomplished may shift and adjust in the days ahead, but the "why" will remain the same.

Every piece of communication they see should have the "why" attached to it. Emails should have it. Newsletters should have it. Social media posts should include it as a tag line at the minimum. Your volunteers want to make a difference. They want to be the difference in kids and families' lives.

The "how" may change, but the "why" is unchanging. Keep it at the center of everything you do.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Keep them in the loop. Don't expect your volunteers to shine at church if you are keeping them in the dark during the week. Send out updates and need-to-knows. Leave space in your communication for Q & A.

Meet with them virtually. You can use apps like Zoom, Facebook live or Skype to communicate with them as a group. Meet with them virtually and share updates, encouragement, spend time praying together, casting vision and providing relevant and pertinent training.

You can also use this approach to meet with key volunteers individually. They, in return, can then contact the volunteers they lead or serve with.

Listen to them. As you meet with volunteers in person or virtually, give them space to express their thoughts, worries, ideas and insight. They can see some things you can't see and they have ideas that can help the ministry run smoother.

Ask them questions like this and listen to their responses.

—What is driving your motivation up or down?

—How is the current situation affecting you and your family right now?

—How can I serve you and your family during this time of need?

Think about how you will navigate through these three stages:

—sheltered phase.

—reopening phase.

—post-COVID-19 phase.

It will take wisdom, strategy and adaption to walk through these 3 stages with your team. Map out a clear, well thought-out plan to communicate with them.

Pray with them. Take time to pray for their prayer requests. People are worried about losing their jobs, paying their rent or mortgage and protecting their health. They need your prayers and prayer truly does make the difference.

Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 30 years. He has helped build some of the largest and fastest growing children's ministries and churches in the nation. At Christ Fellowship in South Florida, he helped the church grow from 12,000 to over 28,000 people attending each weekend. In 8 years there, he built a volunteer team of over 2,600 that ministers to thousands of kids each weekend.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

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