Like any church experiences, Easter weekend in 2015 for Champions Centre was sort of crazy. They had two Good Friday services, five weekend services, and a community Easter egg hunt. That’s at both their Tacoma campus and their Bellevue campus. And just like any church experiences, that means needing a whole bunch of volunteers on their A-game.
Previously, they’ve done their huge community Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning. But they found that they were mostly catering to the neighborhood instead of their own people. And most of those from the neighborhood wouldn’t be coming on Sunday to their Easter services. So they shifted the event to make it part of their services – happening between and during the weekend services.
So between staffing large Easter egg hunts while the Easter services were going on along with higher level of attendees, they needed more volunteers than usual. More greeters, parking teams, ushers, etc.
Even with a volunteer culture like Champions Centre has, they’ve realized that timing and preparation are key to making sure they have enough volunteers for events like their Easter services. To prepare for getting the people, they start talking about it a good six weeks out. They have opportunity sheets that they hand out, listing the opportunities for serving as a volunteer. They get their congregation and current volunteers to fill those out. This is their commitment to the church to let them know they want to serve.
There’s no shortcut to securing volunteers for events. Really, it takes lead time. It takes the ask, and sometimes a bold ask. “We know you have a big family event on Sunday, so would you consider volunteering for a Saturday night service instead? Or would you still serve at one service on Sunday?” By getting creative and a little bold, they’ve been able to secure the volunteers they need for these types of events.
It isn’t out of the ordinary for Champions Centre to ask for volunteers. They have a strong volunteer culture there.
Each week, they have a team headquarters that provides snacks, food, drinks, and a place for them to relax between times serving. Of course, during longer weekends like Easter, they beef up the team headquarters a bit more to show more appreciation – acknowledging the extra commitment volunteers are making.
They’re also good at appreciating their volunteers through follow-up. Monday morning is their volunteer follow-up day as a staff. That’s their dedicated time for the staff members to reach out to volunteers who stood out on the weekend. That might mean a text, an email, or a phone call. Or sometimes it’s just posting to social media and giving them a shout out for being a great volunteer.
They try to make serving fun. They create community. But they’re also hyper-aware that volunteering isn’t just what the church can get from the individual. There’s also a benefit to the person who serves. Through serving, they get community. They get the therapy of giving back to others. And they get to feel the importance they have within their role. The Champions Centre team is bold about acknowledging that a volunteer gets so much out of serving.
So while asking for volunteers to step up and bring their best to the table is a challenge, a culture like this makes it feel more natural. It is possible to properly staff for Easter.