How to Rebuild Your Team (After a Pandemic)
Churches are beginning to reopen and while the kids are coming back, many are finding that volunteers are not.
That, of course, is a problem – because we can’t do what we do without our volunteers! So, here are four tips for rebuilding your team and recruiting volunteers after a pandemic.
1. Connect with Them
Ministry is about people, not programs. And people, unlike programs, are relational.
They need connection.
Our volunteers need to know that they are more than cogs in a programming
machine. They are people we love and care about.
So, carve out time to connect with them before trying to recruit them. Don’t ask
them to serve. Ask them how they’re doing. Don’t ask them to commit. Ask them
how you can pray for them.
Consider gathering a small group of volunteers together (either virtually or in-
person) and give them an opportunity to reconnect with one another. Give them a
chance to remember the friendships they made when they were serving.
The bottom line is we need to care for our volunteers – not just try to get something
2. Communicate Safety to Them
You may have a good number of volunteers who are anxious to get back to serving
but are concerned about the safety measures.
What about the 70-year-old who loves rocking babies? What about the 30-year-old
small group leader that wants to keep visiting his higher risk parents? What are you
doing to keep them safe?
Churches are generally focused on making families feel safe returning to church, but
as leaders we must also communicate with the volunteer in mind – not just the
3. Ease Them Back In
The reality is that a lot of your most consist volunteers (pre-pandemic) are going to
struggle to return to the level of commitment they had before. Serving every week
or even twice a month might feel overwhelming now when a year ago it was simply
part of their routine.
Be understanding. Be gracious. Give them permission to ease back in.
When you’re tight on volunteers it can be so tempting to push them to commit
more, to serve more, to do more. But resist that temptation. Don’t force them to go
from zero to sixty. Let them ramp back up at their own pace. Give them time to
remember why they were so committed before. Give them time to remember why
what they do matters.
4. Cast Vision
Vision leaks. You’ve experienced that before, right? You cast the vision over and over
and over again and then a volunteer asks a question that makes you wonder if
they’ve been listening to a word you said.
If vision can leak over a period of days, imagine how much it’s leaked over the past
That’s why, as you begin to rebuild your team and recruit volunteers, you’ll need to
get back into the rhythm of vision casting. Talk about the vision in every
conversation. Include it in every email. Share it at every event. Celebrate it at every
Tell stories of what God has done in the past. Give them a compelling direction for
the future. Invite people to participate in what God is doing in and through your
We know that reopening can feel like starting from scratch. But don’t get overwhelmed. Take it one step a time. Do what you need to do and trust God to provide for His church.