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13 questions to ask your volunteers

If we seek to share the ministry with people who are invested in our Christian communities, then how we invite them into ministry and position them for maximum impact is critical.  Here are 13 questions I frequently ask volunteers (partners in ministry) before and during their period of service.

Questions discerning WHERE a person might serve:

  1. Can you think of a time when you feel like you really made a difference?  (ask them to describe the experience, listening for indications of their gifts and passions)
  2. What settings or situations make your heart sing?
  3. If you could serve anywhere in the church, what would be your dream job? (ask them before suggesting options)

Questions to ask DURING their time of service

  1. Are there any parts of your job description that are unclear, or that you have concerns about being able to honor?
  2. Is this a setting a place where you feel that you’re making a difference? Is the experience what you expected it to be?
  3. Have you developed a friendship with the people you are serving with?
  4. How can I pray for you? Are there ways I can support you in your faith journey?
  5. What training and support do you need right now to do your best work?
  6. What can we do to make this ministry better?

Questions to ask NEAR THE END of their service experience

  1. How did God use you in this setting?
  2. Did this experience utilize your gifts and strengths? Honor your passions?
  3. What did you learn about yourself as a result of serving in this role?
  4. Where do you think God might be leading you to serve in the future?

Inviting people into ministry is more than filling slots so that the programmatic work of the church gets done. Inviting people into ministry, equipping them to love God and love others, and supporting them in their efforts is how we help people honor their sense of vocation and live into their calling. Like a conductor leading an orchestra, we have the opportunity to place people in roles where their gifts can shine and compliment the contributions of others. Helping people with find their sweet spot in life and ministry is holy work that should not be rushed or discounted.

Some Toughts (2)

  1. added on 3 Nov, 2014
    Reply

    i really like these questions and the time line of when they should be asked. I feel that they are all very important but I feel that the last four are especially important, not only for evaluating a persons experience in a position, but to really get in touch with how the person felt during their time. I see those four as encouraging ongoing relationships and volunteer potential,

  2. Kelly Preboski
    added on 14 Nov, 2014
    Reply

    I really like the emphasis on when to ask these questions. I seek to get to know my volunteers better and create more of a team environment, as I struggle to do this with little time on both my role and their volunteer time, I know these questions will help me make the most of the time I can find. Thank you.

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