Volunteers: Policies & Procedures and Background Checks

Volunteers are an essential part of every church. Unless your church is going to pay every person who does anything at your church (which I have personally never seen), you will have volunteers. Now, managing volunteers is a job in and of itself, but when we think about what the role of the volunteer is, we realize they are the face of your church. They are often the first and last person that a guest sees while visiting.

Not only do you, as a church, have to work to find and manage your volunteers, but also you must adequately prepare them for the job you have for them to do. The answer is to create a set of policies and procedures. This is needed for every area of your church where volunteers are serving. Just like a job description for an employee, volunteers need to have “job descriptions” in the form of policies and procedures for the areas in which they serve.

Let’s explore some areas where policies and procedures are needed for volunteers. This list could very long, but lets take a look at a few examples where this is necessary.

Parking Team: Your parking team is the first thing every person in your church sees on the way in the building. This can be people helping park or even just setting up cones early on Sunday morning. The parking team needs to know where to park guests, the handicapped, and overflow parking.  They also need to know what to do if there is a fender-bender in the parking lot. This is important to prevent someone from calling the police when there is a simple incident.

Ushers and Security Teams: From following an offering policy as suggested here [link to giving policy’s blog post] to what to do with a disruption during the service, your ushers and security teams are very important volunteers. They need to know how to handle a multitude of situations that may come up during a Sunday morning. If someone begins to have a medical issue during the service, what do they do? How do they handle the situation? These are important questions that must be thought through before the event happens.

These few examples only scratch the surface of the policies you need to implement with your volunteers. I would like to raise another issue, however, and that is having the church do its due diligence with these volunteers by doing regular and complete background checks.

While background checks are not going to tell you everything about a person, they are going to reveal any previously reported issues that might raise concerns about having those people volunteer in certain positions. Periodic background checks are necessary to show that the church is doing everything it can to make sure the volunteers are, for example, trustworthy to work with the children in your ministry.

Let me know in the comments what your biggest issues are with your policies and procedures.

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