VOLUNTEERS & Research reveals 41% started because someone already involved invited them to join. #NationalSurveyOfCongregations

by Helen Gibson, LifeWay, 7/27/18

(According to) the 2015 National Survey of Congregations …, released in 2016, the most recent year such data is available, shows around 1 in 4 Americans, or 24.9 percent, said they volunteered at least once over the course of the year.

Women tend to volunteer more than men, at a rate of 27.8 percent to 21.8 percent…

Americans 35 to 44 years old and those 45 to 54 years old were most likely to volunteer, at rates of 28.9 and 28 percent, respectively. On the other hand, people 20 to 24 years old were least likely to volunteer, at a rate of 18.4 percent.

Those with higher education levels are also more likely to volunteer. Among respondents 25 years old or older, 38.8 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher said they volunteered, while 26.5 percent of those with some college or an associate degree, 15.6 percent of those with a high school diploma only, and 8.1 percent of those without a high school diploma said the same.

Whether or not someone is married with children may also affect the likelihood that they volunteer. Around 1 in 3 married people (29.9 percent) said they volunteer, while about 1 in 5 of those who’ve never married (19.9 percent), and 1 in 5 of those with other marital statuses (20.2 percent) said the same. Parents with children under the age of 18 were also more likely to volunteer (31.3 percent) than people without kids (22.6 percent).

(Some takeaways:)

(Make it easy to volunteer)  Around 4 in 10 volunteers said they got involved with a particular organization by approaching that organization themselves, so make it easy for your church’s members to figure out how they can get connected to certain ministries.

(Current volunteers should be encouraged to recruit more volunteers) Another 4 in 10 volunteers said they started volunteering after being asked by someone else — and most often, that was someone who was already involved in that organization. Encourage those who are currently serving in a particular ministry area not only to keep serving, but to invite others to join with them….

(Serving = discipleship)  Daniel Im, LifeWay’s director of church multiplication, described it as a way to grow spiritually on a recent volunteer recruitment episode of the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast.

“When you serve, that’s actually how you become more like Christ — because that’s what Jesus came to do,” Im said. “So why don’t you do what Jesus did, and why don’t you grow and become more like Him?’”

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2018/07/26/data-paints-a-picture-of-volunteerism-across-the-nation/

VOLUNTEERS & What’s the prescription for your church’s role-to-task ratio? #CharlesArn – why your church community has too many tasks & not enough leaders to implement them.

There may be many factors involved in why your church community has too many tasks and not enough leaders to implement them. Dr. Charles Arn dives into this question and offers solutions for how to create a better role-to-task ratio for your congregation. (Excerpted from the Society For Church Consulting’s Church Staffing Summit 2015.)

Video: What’s the prescription for your church’s role-to-task ratio?

by Charles Arn
There may be many factors involved in why your church community has too many tasks and not enough leaders to implement them.

Watch more at … https://www.biblicalleadership.com/videos/whats-the-prescription-for-your-churchs-role-to-task-ratio

MEGACHURCHES & 9 Fascinating Facts About People Who Attend Megachurches

by Warren Bird, LeadNet, 8/2/15.

…But what about the people who attend really big churches? Fellow researcher Scott Thumma and I surveyed some 25,000 of them, with some fascinating discoveries:

1. Nearly two-thirds of attenders have been at these churches 5 years or less.
2. Many attenders come from other churches, but nearly a quarter haven’t been in any church for a long time before coming to a megachurch.
3. New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them.
4. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches).
5. What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation, in that order.
6. These same factors also influenced long-term attendance, as did the music/arts, social and community outreach, and adult-oriented programs.
7. Attenders report a considerable increase in their involvement in church, in their spiritual growth, and in their needs being met.
8. Attenders can craft unique, customized spiritual experiences through the multitude of ministry choices and diverse avenues for involvement that megachurches offer.
9. In many ways, large churches today are making good progress in reaching people and moving them from spectators to active participants to growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

For more interesting facts about people who attend megachurches, download the free report Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches.

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/9-fascinating-facts-about-people-who-attend-megachurches/

TRAINING LEADERS & How to Foster Apprenticeship & Mentoring #SpiritualWaypointsBook

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2010), pp. 194-195.

(In other postings I’ve discussed more specifics of “Apprenticeship” “Mentoring” and “Formal Training” for church leaders.  For more on this topic see these postings which are also excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey).

Churches often worry about allowing novices to engage in hands-on ministry too soon, especially those travelers who have just completed Waypoint 4: Spiritual Foundations. A common opinion is that travelers need time to ―get to know the way we do things here.‖ Yet one of the most prevalent and productive methods to foster leadership is to encourage hand-on training.

Foster hands-on training and expect failures.

Volunteers must be permitted to roll up their sleeves and engage in actual ministry. Jesus exemplified this when he sent out the twelve disciples (Matt. 10:1–42; Mark 6:6b–13) along with thirty-six teams of two (Luke 10:1–24). And he knew they were not fully ready for everything they would encounter. Since Jesus is all knowing (1 Sam. 2:3; 1 Chron. 28:9; John 16:30), he knew his disciples would flounder at times. And Jesus chose not to prevent this. For example, Jesus knew beforehand that the disciples would not be able to cast out the demons they encountered (Matt. 17:16–19). Yet Jesus used this failure to teach them about the additional preparation needed in prayer, faith, and fasting (Matt. 17:20–21; Mark 9:29). Because Jesus let them flounder and fail, lessons learned would not be forgotten. Therefore, allowing a person to be involved in hands-on ministry, and even to make some initial missteps, can drive home a lesson.
Spiritual Waypoints [104KB]
Foster apprenticeship and mentoring.

In the above biblical story, Jesus did not leave his disciples without advice or follow-up. Jesus beckoned his disciples to live with him (Matt. 4:18–20; 8:20), to travel with him (Mark 1:16–20), to watch him as he ministered (Mark 1:29–45), report back to him (Matt.17:16–19) and to be accountable to him (Mark 6:30; Luke 9:10). This gave his disciples informal learning opportunities, an ingredient that many churches underutilize. Too often new volunteers are abandoned when previous volunteers think they are now relieved of their duty and free to depart. But nothing could be further from the truth. New volunteers need an extended time to learn the wealth of knowledge the previous leaders have accumulated. Returning to our example above, Jesus spent months with his disciples before and after he sent them out. And even then the disciples‘ mistakes dogged their mission.

Such training can be fostered by both apprenticeship and mentoring. Apprenticeship is training for a specific task, while mentoring trains a leader in a range of ministries. For example, a newly graduated seminarian might be mentored in preaching, delegation, worship, etc. This would be an example of mentoring, for the seasoned leader works with the novice in a broad range of duties.

Speaking hashtags: #StLiz

SPIRITUAL FORMATION & Should Employees Be Given Spiritual “Development Days?” Yes! Here’s why.

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 6/24/15.

I was thinking about how organizations sometimes give employees “development days” to pursue education, attend conferences, etc.

But since I encourage 50/50 development, 50 percent on professional development and 50 percent on spiritual development, I believe one option might be that ouGBA_Med1r development days should also be divided equally. (For more on how to balance 50% of your employee’s development in the spiritual arena too, see my chapter “Missteps with Staff Education” in Growth by Accident, Death by Planning, Abingdon Press, 2004).

Here is my response to a former student on this issue. I hope this sheds some light on my thinking regarding how to foster 50/50 learning in our congregations.


Hello ____student name____;

I appreciated that you stated, “I have found that if I can keep the personal development days focused on personal skill development, there is a high interest. I am afraid that if it drifts towards ratios (i.e. 50/50) … interest may change.”

Thank you for your posting. You are correct, many employees are highly interested in developing their skills.

But, I am concerned that 50/50 learning be reflected in our development days too. Let me explain. Church Growth studies are critical, and should be part of the 50% professional development segment. But also spiritual development is needed in the other 50%, lets call this spiritual development.

I suggested to another student in your cohort that 15 days should be expected per year minimum for personal development. Thus, 7 days for professional development, and 8 days for spiritual development.

Thanks for getting me thinking.
Dr. Whitesel


REST & Should Faithful Long-time Volunteers Take a Break?

by Bob Whitesel, 5/20/15.

Sometimes my students share their frustrations with long-time volunteers who at some point give up and just want to take a break from volunteering.  Because we still need these leaders (and in addition they are highly skilled) we often dissuade them from taking such leaves of absence.  Here is how one student described the situation, “What do you do with individuals who have had a long history of faithful service but after feeling burned out they now only attend and virtually are doing nothing to serve in the church?”

Well, I may surprise you, but I believe that dear faithful saints should at some point rest from their labors.  I see God giving us an example of this in the Sabbath that He Himself took (if there was someone who did not need this, it was Him 🙂  Thus, I have no problem with dear long-working saints wanting to enjoy their twilight years and/or taking time off to enjoy the church in harmony and peace.

I think the problem is exacerbated because there are usually few people ready to replace them.  This in my mind is not their fault, for the newcomers are usually a different generation than the long-serving volunteers, and the experienced workers don’t naturally relate to them.  Thus, they do not reach out to them.

I believe the fault lies with our training and assimilation systems.  Most churches do not have training for new leaders, as well as small groups to give new leaders a support system.  Thus, we rely upon long-working saints from our church culture to not only do their volunteer work, but also reach out across a cultural gap and recruit new volunteers who are unfamiliar with church culture.  The task is too large and the gap to wide for busy volunteers.  And thus, church leadership must step in with leadership training designed for new attendees.

Plus, because most church leadership training is focused upon existing volunteers this makes volunteers feel even more overwhelmed, as they try to juggle their volunteer work with more (required) leadership training.  Thus, I suggest we go easy on training for existing leaders, and focus more of our attention on the training of potential or new leaders.

I often ask my students, “Do some of you have avenues that foster such neophyte leadership training?  If you do, share them here and let’s inspire potential leaders for fruitful ministry.”  How about you?  If such programs don’t come to mind, how about doing some sleuthing on the Internet and finding some programs that develop new volunteers.  It will probably be more productive than trying to retrain burned-out ones.

VOLUNTEERS & The Key To Their Engagement Has Less To Do With Management Than You’d Think

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:Engagement is creating a passion in your volunteers and employees for the mission of the organization. This article points to several key elements for creating passion. One of the most important elements is to let front-line workers have more input into the processes and methods of the organization. This reminds me of how John Wesley often sought the input of the average society attendee to better design what came to be known as ‘Wesley’s methods’.”

by Mark Lunkens, Fast Company Magazine, 5/20/14

Read more at … http://www.fastcompany.com/3030710/the-key-to-employee-engagement-has-less-to-do-with-management-than-youd-think?partner=rss