Turn Awkward into Awesome

Three steps to making the most of your volunteer interviews

Someone who signed up to volunteer at church is going to be excited and a little anxious about doing something new. An interview can add to their anxiety and it might even get awkward. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The interview can actually be the most important conversation you’ll have with them. So, you need to be intentional about this first conversation.

This is the best time to find out where a person is spiritually and where they need to grow. Asking the right questions in the right way will allow your new volunteer to open up and talk freely with you about their life. Here are three simple steps that can turn awkward into awesome:

  1. Get to know the person before your conversation.

Read their application. Look them up in the church information system. This is information that they have already given freely to the church. Information like: how long they’ve been coming to the church, who their family members are, the classes they’ve taken so far, if they were recently baptized, etc. Taking the time to know the person before you talk adds value to them. By doing this, you let them know that their church knows who they are and that they belong. This also makes the start of your conversation seem less like an interview and more like a comfortable chat…….

  1. Know your questions.

We have six important questions that we ask our new volunteers as we get to know them. As people respond to these questions, we get to know about their spiritual journey, their experience at the church so far, who the most important people in their life are and how they want to grow. If you’d like to see a list of these questions, email us at serve@cftoday.org. Asking the right questions in the right order can make the conversation flow naturally and both of you will walk away feeling like the talk was a great investment of time.

  1. Speak life over the person.

As you listen to the person’s story, remember this is about them, not you. Be thinking about what words you can say, and what Bible verses you can use to encourage and build them up. One of our Leadership Values is “We Speak Life.” It’s based on the words found in Proverbs 18:21. “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”

I was interviewing a person that told us on his application that he had been convicted of a crime in the past. During the conversation, he began to share his story with me. I think he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to serve because of his past. But when I asked him, “What has God been doing in your life since that event?” he smiled really big and started sharing how Jesus Christ had changed his life. The crime occurred fifteen years earlier and it is now part of his “God story.” He’s now one of our most joyful greeters.

People need to feel valued and part of their church family. Our Lead Pastor, Todd Mullins, always reminds us that “We need to believe for people what they can’t believe for themselves.”

So, remember these three steps and you’ll be turning your next awkward interview into an awesome conversation. And you’ll see new volunteers stepping up to a higher level of serving.