5 Tips for Delegating to Volunteers


If you need to relieve yourself of some of your workload and know you need to ask unpaid volunteers to do it, let me share a plan for how to recruit them without feeling guilty about it.

Whether you’re a paid pastoral leader or unpaid, full-time or bivocational, one thing is true – your resources and time are limited. It can be frustrating knowing your vision is large, but your personal availability of those precious resources to accomplish it doesn’t match. Likely, you’re reading this article becuase you know the only way to accomplish more is to delegate more but, if you’re like many other pastors, you’re unsure of how to delegate tasks to unpaid volunteers.

Overcoming Concerns

Here are some concerns and reasons you may not be delegating already – concerns that you need to overcome:

  1. Fear of being seen as incompetent:
    Some pastors may be hesitant to delegate tasks to others because they fear that it will make them appear incompetent or incapable of handling their responsibilities.
  2. Fear of losing control:
    Delegating tasks to others means giving up some level of control over the outcome of those tasks. Some pastors may be reluctant to do this, especially if they have a specific way of doing things.
  3. Concern for the quality of work:
    Pastors may worry that the quality of work produced by volunteers may not be up to their standards, which could reflect poorly on them or the church.
  4. Trust issues:
    Trust is an essential component of any delegation process. If pastors don’t trust the people they’re delegating tasks to, they may be reluctant to do so.
  5. Guilt:
    As mentioned earlier, some pastors may feel guilty about delegating tasks to volunteers because they used to get paid for doing those tasks themselves.
  6. Lack of time: Ironically, some pastors may be reluctant to delegate tasks to others because they feel they don’t have enough time to train and supervise volunteers.

It’s important to remember that delegation is a necessary and essential part of leadership. By delegating tasks to others, pastors can focus on their core responsibilities and allow others to use their talents and skills to serve the church community.

Identifying the reasons you may be hesitant to delegate will enable you to address those concerns in order to create a healthy delegation process.

As a pastor of a primarily volunteer-driven church, it’s important to recognize that people volunteer because they want to, not because they feel obligated to. So, when you’re looking to recruit volunteers to help relieve some of your workload, it’s important to approach the situation in a way that is respectful of their time and talents. Here are some steps you can take to make the process smoother:

1. Identify the tasks that you want to delegate

Before you start recruiting volunteers, make a list of the tasks that you want to delegate. Identify the tasks that you feel comfortable giving away and that you think volunteers will be willing to take on.

2. Make a job description

Once you’ve identified the tasks, create a job description for each of them. This will help you articulate the expectations and responsibilities for the position, and it will help you communicate clearly with potential volunteers.

3. Determine the time commitment

Be clear about the amount of time you expect volunteers to commit. This will help potential volunteers know whether or not they have the time to take on the role.

4. Recruit volunteers

Reach out to your congregation and let them know about the volunteer opportunities available. You can do this through announcements during services, social media, or email newsletters. Be sure to include the job descriptions and time commitment so that potential volunteers can make informed decisions.

5. Show appreciation

Once you’ve recruited volunteers, it’s important to show your appreciation for their time and efforts. This can be done through words of affirmation, recognition during services, or even small gifts.

It’s natural to feel guilty about delegating work that you used to get paid for, but remember that your role as a pastor is to lead and serve your congregation, not to do everything yourself. By delegating some of your workload, you’re allowing others to use their talents and serve the church in meaningful ways.

Which of these areas are you struggling with? Which do you think you could implement immediately. Do you have any other thoughts on delegation to add to this? If so, please share!