3 Common Volunteer Myths Debunked

Many people who would love to give back to their community are often discouraged by myths around volunteering. Similarly, church leaders often make assumptions about their community and outreach potential. Let’s break down the mindsets around volunteering and show you what’s really behind these common myths.

Myth #1: “I’d love to give back but I feel like I don’t have enough time. I don’t think I can commit to something long term.”

The reality: Making a commitment to serve on a regular basis can seem overwhelming when your members already have a lot going on in their life but it’s all about picking the right opportunity for them and their schedule. Help potential volunteers find an opportunity with a low time commitment that works for their lifestyle.

Myth #2: “There are so many problems in the world. I don’t think I can make much of a difference.”

The reality: The state of the world can feel immense at times but we don’t have to bear it alone. Remind your members they have other good people around to help them. On their own, it can seem harder to plant seeds of faith, but by working together, they can spread the Gospel effectively. Help your people connect with the mission, start small, create the good, and remind them one act of kindness can create a ripple effect that positively impacts everyone around them.

Myth #3: “I’m worried about my health and safety if I attend events in person. I can only give back if I’m physically there.”

The reality: Your member’s concerns are valid and understandable. Virtual volunteering is a great way for people to stay connected to their church and community. Offer and suggest online opportunities they may be able to help out with.

Myth #1: “People are really struggling right now and the holidays can be a stressful time. How can I burden them with helping out the church when they already have so much going on?”

The reality: Many people are looking to give back, especially around the holidays. Yes, people are busy, but volunteering is a feel-good way of sharing your blessings and leaning into the reason for the season. Don’t be afraid to ask your people to help! Inspire your members with your mission and give them a variety of opportunities to choose from so that they can pick something that works with their lifestyle and makes them feel good helping out their community.

Myth #2: “Volunteers don’t stick around.”

The reality: It can be disheartening to see people disengage from their community but according to one survey, when asked why people have stepped away from volunteer services in their church, members shared the most common reasons were COVID, family issues, moving to a new place, or switching to a different volunteer role in the church. In other words, it’s not that they’re uncommitted—it’s that life happens. Show appreciation towards volunteers that have stuck around, don’t be too hard on yourself or those who did step down, and find ways to engage other members.

Myth #3: “Volunteers don’t share my passion for ministry.”

The reality: You’re not alone. Your church members are there because they share your desire to help others grow in their faith. Some of the greatest joys in ministry come from helping others find their purpose from serving. Sometimes all it takes is one experience or one event to spark something in another person’s heart that forever changes them and makes them realize they’ve walked into their God-given purpose. Lead with the “Why” and you’ll inspire others to tap into their love for serving others.