Opportunities to serve

First published 31st May 2016
As we mark the beginning of Volunteer Week, the Rev Simon Jones, Team Rector at St Michael's Stoke Gifford, explains how the church found new ways of encouraging people to serve.

Churches love notices! One of the notices we love is the asking for volunteers notice. It often starts like this: We need volunteers to (fill in your own blank) Were often disappointed and surprised when nobody responds to our heartfelt pleas.

At St Michaels Stoke Gifford, we have recently taken a different approach to gathering volunteers. Instead of asking for volunteers, we provided clearer signposts for the opportunities to serve.


As part of a Fruitfulness on the Frontline preaching series, we put together an Opportunities to Serve Roadshow after each of our Sunday services for four weeks. Set up like a mini Christian Resources Exhibition, space was given towards the end of each Sunday service, continuing into coffee time, for people to chat to designated representatives from a range of ministries.

People were able to talk about the various opportunities available to get involved in and serve within the life of the church and wider community. The reps were, on the whole, volunteers themselves. They didnt have all the answers, just some enthusiasm for what they do and an idea of the sorts of things that were involved. We also had a display board listing all the Opportunities to Serve and had sign-up sheets available to capture peoples contact details.

We made it clear that expressing an interest in any particular area did not necessarily guarantee that offers would be taken up clearly there needs to be a screening process to make sure people have the appropriate gifts, talents and personality for any given ministry area. But we were keen to get people more fully engaged and involved within the life of the church so that people feel like they belong and have a part to play.

On the first Sunday alone, 60 people signed up to find out more about an area of ministry. How many of us get that response from our Sunday notices?

Find out more about volunteering at St Michael's Stoke Gifford


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