April 10, 2018

Volunteer Engagement: Leading with a Scarcity Mentality


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When it comes to volunteers, do you lead with a scarcity mentality?

A scarcity mentality can get your church stuck. And not just when it comes to our time or money, but with our people as well.

  • What if our volunteers find somewhere better to serve?
  • Are we offering them enough opportunities?
  • Why does it seem like they’re just not interested anymore?

We have bought into the lie that the mission and vision of our church is not big enough to compete with organizations outside the church that are also fighting for people’s attention. Not only is this harmful for our morale internally, but it’s also a sign of an inwardly-focused church.

volunteer engagement

As leaders, we often feel the pull to attract people to OUR church, OUR vision, and OUR ministry. But this isn’t the way God sees it. He isn’t concerned with where people serve, but Who they serve.

Moving away from a scarcity mentality when it comes to volunteers and serving requires faith and trust. The reality is: every spiritual gift given to people in your congregation was given by God and for God. And the most effective use of these gifts does not always play out within the confines of the local church.

Instead of having a view of service that is inward-focused and ultimately self-serving, we need to celebrate service as a lifestyle. It’s not something our congregation signs up to do, it’s just the people they are. Encouraging your people to use their gifts in all aspects of their lives beyond just Sunday morning will empower them to give back, to their communities, and to your church.

While this sounds nice in theory, you might still be wondering “Okay… but how do I fill the slots in my kid’s ministry?” Here are a few practical steps for looking beyond a scarcity mentality and into all the fullness God has for you and your church members:

1. Create a Dynamic Experience

When your ministry is alive and dynamic, people will want to be a part of it. Every person has the desire to use their gifts and talents, and to see these make an impact around them. When people feel like their time is being leveraged well and truly making a difference, they will want to give.

2. Empower People Personally

Your role as a leader is not to shape the people around you to your personal mission and vision, but to empower them in the unique ways God has created them. Give people opportunities to discover who God has made them to be, learn what gives them life and energy, and then do everything in your power to say “yes” to that. Acknowledge that the serving opportunity they’re looking for may not be offered by your church—and that it’s still a “win.”

3. Focus on the Church

Whatever moves the Kingdom of God forward moves the Church forward—the global, dynamic Church. Don’t become so inwardly-focused and buy into the lie that if it’s not good for your church, it’s not good for The Church. When we empower our congregations to see their everyday lives as an opportunity to be involved in God’s powerful work throughout all the world—in the marketplace, in schools, and even in other churches—He will bless their ministry, and ours in return.

God has more for your church than what a scarcity mentality allows. Instead, let’s create impactful experiences, empower people to live into their calling, and prioritize the Church in all aspects of our ministry.


Jordan An

Jordan is our Digital Marketing Manager. She graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University and, prior to joining The Unstuck Group, worked in social media and marketing communications for a Christian non-profit media ministry. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband Sam, and enjoys leading worship at her local church.

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