When I began back 2009 on our church staff, I had no idea how to build a food ministry volunteer staff. Putting my trusting in God has guided me in every step of the way. I can remember one Wednesday night we have a lot of volunteers calling out for a dinner that night. I stood in the middle of the kitchen and called out to God saying “I can’t do this alone”. What you need to know is we were feeding four hundred to five hundred guests every Wednesday. What took place after telling God I can’t do this alone, my prayers were answered. The phone calls started to come in, and everyone said to me “I understand you might need some help tonight”. You have to know; no one knew about the call outs except God and me. I only say that trusting God to provide is the only way I can explain how we made it through the night.
Building a food ministry volunteer staff from the ground up is not an easy task. We had a lot of volunteers because everyone wanted to help because it was new at our church. But we found soon after sub-staining a food ministry volunteer staff was not going to be easy. We went from around hundred ten volunteers to fifty almost overnight. So now what do we do. If it wasn’t for same volunteers over and over we would have to close the Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner down.
I have been in the food business for over 40 years, and it was easy to get people to work, but keeping them was the trick. I wish I knew what I knew now because how to build a food ministry volunteer staff isn’t any different to keeping paid staff versus a volunteer staff.
Have you here the saying: Which came first Chicken or the Egg? Or this one “The Cart or the Horse”. My point is you have to build your house on the rock because if you build your house on sand it won’t stand up over time.
The very first thing before you even put on the event you need volunteers that can serve to make it all happen.
I have been saying for a few years that I think we should always have the information on hand of all our volunteers. So when the need arises we can look into a database that would tell us all about members of the church we could call on.
So recruiting volunteers is the very first thing you need to do before anything happens. So how do you do this? Rick Warren wrote a book called Shape. It is also in a chapter of the “The Purpose Driven Life”. It is a concept called S.H.A.P.E.; it is supposed to help you remember factors God uses to prepare and equip us for our purpose in life. The five shape tools are Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences.
The first one I like to talk about are Spiritual Gifts. There are several assessments of spiritual gifts you and most churches have one that each member can take. The one I have used is from spiritualgiftstest.com, SpiritualGiftsTest founded in 2004 and basically became a clone of the Eleven Talents website.
Jeff Carver say’s “God wants us to be involved with His work. He is so gracious that by His Holy Spirit He freely distributes spiritual gifts to all who are saved. He not only wants us to know our spiritual gifts, but He expects us to grow in them each day”.
So what do you do with the information once you have it? I ensure you it is the first step how to build a food ministry volunteer staff. When you are evaluating what your needs are is no different when you set a restaurant staff. In the restaurant world, my job descriptions are no different then when you set up your volunteer staff.
Write a job description for each position you are trying to fill. It is a little easier if you just list the positions then write what you want the volunteers to do.
For my Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner, my list would look like this: Dishwasher, Prep Cook, Beverage Station Attendant, Food Buffet Runner, Cashier, Dessert Attendant, Salad Bar Attendant, Dinning Area Clean Up. You also would have on your volunteers schedule how many volunteers you would need for each position.
Example: Dishwasher (2), Prep cook (2), Beverage Station Attendant (1), Food Buffet Runner (2), Cashier (2), Dessert Attendant (1), Salad Bar Attendant (1), Dinning Area Clean Up (2). As you can see, this is a lot of positions to fill. So if you are trying to keep the volunteers to serve once a month you would need thirteen volunteers each week. If you have the dinner each week, it will be fifty-two volunteers, and that doesn’t count if there are five weeks in a month.
The next blog: Part Two I will be talking about the “Heart”