Whether you call it Volunteer Ministries, Assimilation, or Lay Mobilization, it all boils down to assisting believers to use their God-given gifts in service to their Lord. It Includes:

  • Helping new members, and long-time members, find a place to serve
  • Helping all members, become fully involved in the church, thus help to close the church’s back door
  • Unleashing and empowering people to discover and use the gifts and talents God gave them
  • Recruiting for the Church’s needs on the basis of finding the right person rather than simply filling slots with warm bodies
  • Trainings, supporting, and appreciating volunteers as they work


Many resources are available to help congregations improve the ways they recruit and support volunteers. Some of the most prominent books, tapes, programs, and workshops available are described here, along with sources of more information.


To help your congregation better understand the paradigm shift to lay mobilization (that is leaders equipping every Christian to work and serve in devotion to our Savior) you will want to check into the following two books: The Equipping Church and by Sue Mallory; Zondervan Publishing, 2001 Equipping Church Guidebook by Sue Mallory and Brad Smith; Zondervan Publishing, 2001

Every Member in Ministry, a 45-page book by John Ed Mathison (Discipleship Resources, P.O. Box 189, Nashville, TN 37202; 615-340-7284 ), outlines a plan for asking every member to make an annual commitment to ministry; includes importance of follow up, accountability, and training.

Energize, www.energizeinc.com, 5450 Wissahickon Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144; 800-395-9800, has volunteer management resources for both secular settings, which, in many cases are helpful to churches, as well as resources specifically designed for churches. Two recommended resources:

How to Mobilize Church Volunteers by Marlene Wilson, $11.95. Already a “classic” in church volunteerism, this 156-page book discusses how sound principles for human resource management apply in the church.

No Surprises: Controlling Risks in Volunteer Programs, a 60-page book, $9.95. Churches can and do get sued for the actions of their volunteers. This short booklet presents a good overview of the reasons for considering risk management, practical guidance for dealing with the issues, and help creating and implementing policies and procedures.