What’s New In Your New Fall Season? (part two)
In part one of this post, we talked about the sometimes-unspoken rule that church congregations have. Every year, vacation season draws to a close, people leave the beach and head back to school, and life gets back to a more predictable schedule. And with the close of the summer season comes a new church season: volunteers reengage and local places of worship prepare themselves for the natural attendance bump that hits in August and September.
As of this writing, we’re just days away from the calendar flip. So it’s time for us to ask the question of ourselves: what are we doing to prepare? As leaders, are we helping our volunteers to anticipate the shift?
Here are seven areas to consider in the waning days of summer:
1. Check in.
Now is a great time to reach out to every volunteer to see how their summer went and how they’re planning for fall. Don’t relegate this to a “one and done” email: know each volunteer’s preferred communication gateway. Keep a spreadsheet of responses. Don’t give up until you’ve had one-on-one communication with every person on your roster. Checking in with your volunteer not only helps you communicate care, but it helps you know what your overall team status is in a new season.
At every turn, talk about volunteer opportunities. For many people, the fall serves as a secondary New Year’s resolution, of sorts. As they are reexamining schedules and priorities, make sure they know the ways they can get involved in serving their local church and community. [Related post: 20 Ways to Get More Volunteers]
Do you have a training on the calendar for potential volunteers? Now is the time to schedule it. I recommend planning an orientation two to three weeks after your initial attendance bump. That gives your returning vacationers and your new attendees the chance to hear the announcement and plan on coming to find out how they can get involved.
Do your existing volunteers have all of the training they need? (answer: no.) Determine what the right fit is for a refresher training. Should they go through the initial training that you’re providing in #3 above? Should you target specific areas where you want them to improve? Should you revisit your basics and make sure they’re shored up on the non-negotiables?
5. Look at your logistics.
Will a new season mean new changes in the way that you lead guest services or manage your kids ministry? The fall is a great time to introduce new standard operating procedures. Hopefully these are conversations you’ve already had, because it’s probably too late now to enact change prior to Labor Day. But you can still take time to examine why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Is something changing? Tell your volunteers. Is something brewing? Tell your volunteers. Is something on the horizon? Tell your volunteers. Whether it’s at a training (#3), a retraining (#4), or a before-the-service volunteer huddle, let them know what’s going on. [Related post: Helping Your Volunteers Navigate What’s Next]
A new season brings a new sense of excitement. Don’t miss an easy opportunity to celebrate what God is doing and celebrate his wiring of your team. Thank your vols. Applaud them. Tell stories of great things that are happening.
How do you prepare for a new fall season?