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5 ways to attract volunteers

By Natalie Bannon

The Chapel in Brunswick, Georgia is a United Methodist congregation with a booming volunteer ministry. Currently, they have 375 volunteers who serve in 12 different weekend ministries. So, what’s their secret? Forget the old newsletter advertising and pressure tactics. We asked their Director of Discipleship Anne Bosarge what works, and she was more than happy to share some advice. This first of three videos will cover how to attract volunteers by becoming a leader worth following.

1. Start with love

Love needs to be the basis for everything you do in ministry. In fact, the most important commandment Jesus ever gave was to love God and love others. Lead your volunteers with a heart motivated by love. Care more about who they are than what they do for you.

2. Check your character

We all have high expectations for volunteers, but are you exhibiting these characteristics yourself? Take a look in the mirror and make sure you are modeling what you would like to see exhibited in others. Constantly check your character and make sure your actions are pointing others toward Christ.

3. Have a strong work ethic

In Matthew 5:41, Jesus said, “If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.” He wants us to go above and beyond to provide an environment where others can encounter God and fall in love with Jesus. As a leader of volunteers, you need to go the extra mile to provide an environment of love and service. When others see you willing to pay the cost of servitude, they will follow your example.

4. Choose peace under pressure

When God is the source of your peace; circumstances won’t cause you to spin out of control. People are attracted to leaders who demonstrate a calm ability to tackle difficult circumstances with grace. This kind of peace is only found in a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father.

5. Don’t be a people-pleaser

Volunteer leadership is a dangerous place for people-pleasers. When you start to hear words of affirmation, it’s tempting to let your motivation to lead slip into people-pleasing instead of God-pleasing. Make sure that everything you do points others to God—don’t internalize the praise.

Evaluate your own leadership skills. This look within is a sometimes painful process, but without dealing with your own weaknesses as a leader, you won’t be in the position to lead others effectively.

If you’d like additional information about any of these tips, download the Volunteer Leadership Training Guide from under the resources tab or email And if you want tips on other church topics, go to