Training Church Volunteers for Effective Ministry

Effective recruitment of volunteer church and ministry workers will depend on the following:

Types of Ministry Training:

(1) Pre-Service Training:

After you recruit people and before you actually place them into the ministry position, you should provide them with at least training of the basic skills required for the task and orientation to prepare them for what they will be doing. This training could include observation, classroom instruction, or an internship/apprenticeship. The combinations of the three would be ideal.

(2) In-Service Training:

Training should be an on-going process. Everyone has room to learn and grow. Effective in-service training will include the elements that follow.

(3) Post-Service Debriefing:

People may leave a ministry position for a variety of reasons. To help them for future ministry, take time to sit down with them to discuss what they liked about the ministry they were doing, what they didn't like, and how they can take what they learned into future ministry.
 

Elements Included in Effective Training of Volunteers:

Task Development

Resource Recommendations

Assessment of Progress

Input from Supervisor

Nurture of Walk with God

Inspiration to Do One's Best

Need-Based Help

God-Orientation
 

AAA's for Gaining Maximum Participation in Training Opportunities:

Advance notice

Work ahead. Don't spring opportunities on people at the last minute and expect them to fit it onto their busy schedules. Provide a list of opportunities for a minimum of six months to a year in advance.
 
Make expectations known for training in the recruitment process as part of their commitment for accepting the position. People need to know what they are committing to in advance which then gives you grounds for holding them accountable.

Adaptability

Remember that many of your workers will have child care needs, perhaps transportation needs, or scheduling conflicts. Accommodate when you can. The more excuses you can free them of, the greater the potential will be for their participation in training.

Alternative approaches

The question is not if workers need to be trained but how. In today's world, giving workers choices in how to get trained will increase the likelihood of it happening. The days of scheduling a generic training event and expecting most, if not all, of your workers to attend is pretty much over for most churches.
 
Providing alternative approaches to training communicates that the individual is important and his/her needs and uniqueness matter. Providing choices takes into account the various learning styles, time pressures, and already existing levels of competence.

The Staffing Ministry Manual includes this content plus some additional input on alternative approaches to training as well as a template for listing possible training resources.