The Equipper Newsletter
March 12, 2013
Churches Equipping Saints for Service
Editor's note: All four stories share the theme of helping new members serve.
 New Members Make Great Volunteers!
Remember your first days of high school or your first days in a new job? Remember getting lost in the building, trying to learn the group lingo, and feeling like the outsider among people who knew each other well? It's the stuff of nightmares!

We don't want our visitors and new members to feel that way. That's why we have friendly greeters, helpful ushers, good signage and a large visitor center in the lobby.

But are we as thoughtful and intentional about helping new people volunteer? New members make great volunteers. They're excited about the church, eager to make friends, and they want to contribute. But only about 10% of them have the self-confidence and initiative needed to jump into volunteering on their own. The rest need our help.

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  How to Help New Members Serve
When you welcome new members to your church, help them volunteer! It's not an underhanded recruitment technique. it's true to scriptural truth and something most new members appreciate.

Here's how we do it at my church, St. Peter Lutheran in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Sit down with one or two people from your church and decide what will work best for you.

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Although originally written 4 years ago, right after Christmas, every group of new members, of any size, at any time of year, is full of gifts! --KK

The Christmas gifts were unwrapped a while ago. A few might already be exchanged or broken, but hopefully most are used and enjoyed. The best gifts keep on giving.

My church received some wonderful gifts in early December when 47 people, each one a gift from God, joined our congregation. But each person also brought with them an armload of gifts that they are willing to share with us, their fellow members.

The 30 adults in this group bring the gifts of their experiences and skills. Three individuals bring the richness of backgrounds not native to the United States: they were born in Malaysia, India and Poland. Two people in the group have advanced computer skills; a third is a professional recruiter, another leads trainings. Some are artistic: one is studying interior decorating; others love drawing, cooking and knitting. There's an inventor and a master gardener in the group. Two describe themselves as good listeners.

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 More You Can Do
Make it easy for new (and long-time!) members to find out more about ministry opportunities.
  1. Put ministry job descriptions on your website and in print form in your lobby. (See "Do You Know What You're Doing?")
  2. For every "help wanted" ad in the announcements, make a job description easily available; at, for example, the welcome center in the lobby.
  3. Invite one ministry leader a week to give a 3-minute (enforce the limit!) talk to the new member class each week.
  4. Plan a ministry fair. (See "Getting Connected.")
"Visitors can serve, too!" Include that comment every so often in the "help wanted" announcements, as appropriate.  
What can you do if you're "just" a member? Invite a new member out for coffee. Get to know them, genuinely. Ask about their jobs, hobbies, past experiences. You'll get to know their gifts as you do. Do this three times a year and you'll uncover loads of gifts for your church!

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In this issue:
3. Gifts

The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources