2.1 Invitation & Placement
2.2 Orientation Checklist
2.3 Ministry Descriptions
2.4 Volunteer Files
2.5 Change of Personal Information
2.6 Feedback & Appraisal
2.7 Background Checks
2.8 Equal Opportunity
2.9 Americans with Disabilities Act
2.1 INVITATION & PLACEMENT
Faith Community United Methodist Church generally follows these guidelines when it comes to inviting volunteers to service in the ministries and programs of the church.
- Potential volunteers will attend the church for six (6) months before they can serve as a ministry leader. In some cases, as determined by ministry or program leaders, potential volunteers may serve with an already approved volunteer leader.
- All potential volunteers will complete a form providing personal information, spiritual background, and references. All references will be checked and a background check will be completed for everyone serving in our children and youth ministry areas. All information related to background checks will be held in the strictest confidence.
- Potential volunteers will be interviewed informally and a ministry position that matches the volunteer will be found. The church desires to recruit and place volunteers according to their skills, talents, experience, and spiritual gifts so that volunteers find meaningful ministry opportunities that enrich their lives.
- Potential volunteers be faithful in weekly worship and should attend all training opportunities offered by the church.
2.2 ORIENTATION CHECKLIST
New volunteers will undergo an orientation to acquaint them with the church’s guidelines and procedures, their ministry position descriptions, and their working relationships.
As part of the orientation, you’ll receive a copy of this handbook, which contains the church’s guidelines for serving as a volunteer; you’ll be asked to sign a “Statement of Acknowledgment” noting that you’ve received and that you understand the material contained in the handbook (see 7.19). As mentioned earlier, you’ll also be asked to sign a “Statement of Commitment”; this is like a covenant that describes your spiritual and practical goals of living an exemplary life as a church volunteer (see 7.20).
Your team leader will typically orient you to the specific area of ministry you’ll be serving in, as well as helping you understand processes and relationships within that area of ministry. In addition, your team leader will talk through your ministry position description so that you understand the duties you’ll fulfill as a volunteer. The goal is to help you succeed as you give of your time, talents, and gifts to serve others.
2.3 MINISTRY DESCRIPTIONS
Faith Community United Methodist Church uses ministry descriptions so both volunteers and the church know what is mutually expected, and so that the volunteer and the church can be held accountable to fulfill the responsibilities of each ministry position.
A ministry position description summarizes your duties and responsibilities and gives you important information about your area of service. Please read and study it carefully and discuss it with your team leader if you have any questions.
Please note that the church reserves the right to revise and update your ministry description from time to time, as it deems necessary and appropriate. Of course, if you’re currently in a position, you’ll certainly be informed about any changes; your team leader may also ask you to help evaluate revisions and improvements to your ministry position.
2.4 VOLUNTEER FILES
Faith Community United Methodist Church does keep files on volunteers. Your file is considered to be confidential information and only your team leader, the ministry area staff member, or the senior pastor of the church shall have access to your file.
Even that access is limited—only on a need-to-know basis. Of course, you may request to view your own file at any time.
Volunteer files typically contain the following types of personal information:
- Application for volunteer service.
- Spiritual gifts testing and inventories.
- Copies of completion-of-training certificates.
- Ministry position descriptions.
- Letters and other records of affirmation/appreciation.
- Documentation required by local, state, federal, and/or private regulatory agencies, including items such as background checks.
2.5 CHANGE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
It’s important that the church has up-to-date, complete, and accurate information about each of the people who serve in our ministry. Please notify your team leader and the church office immediately if there is a change involving your name, address, phone number, marital status, etc.
Keeping your personal information updated serves several purposes. In a most practical sense, it allows the church and/or your team leader to contact you to notify or remind you of meetings and to let you know about changes in schedules. It also allows other workers to contact you if they are ill or injured and need to find a substitute to temporarily fill their ministry position.
2.6 FEEDBACK & APPRAISAL
It might be called an appraisal, evaluation, or review. No matter what it’s called, the purpose of a performance evaluation is to let you know how you’re doing. Of course, you don’t need to wait for these appraisal times to ask questions about your ministry or your performance. (Remember our Open Door policy, 1.4)
Your team leader should schedule an appraisal with you at least twice a year. Unlike a job performance review, a review for a volunteer ministry position is intended to provide support for you; to determine if you’re serving in the right ministry position; to improve your performance by providing meaningful, constructive feedback; and to assist in your development and fulfillment of personal goals for growth.
In addition, the review will help determine if the ministry position fits into the overall ministry plan of the congregation. And evaluations help the church make important decisions about creating additional volunteer and staff positions and about providing training and development opportunities.
2.7 BACKGROUND CHECKS
Volunteers at Faith Community United Methodist Church who work with children and youth (and other vulnerable groups) must submit to various screening procedures. The primary type of background check includes a U.S. Criminal Record Indicator database search and a Social Security number search.
A U.S. Criminal Record Indicator database check searches electronic criminal files and record databases of government agencies, including sexual offenders’ registries. Manual records of some records may also be needed in states or counties that don’t keep electronic records.
A Social Security number search verifies an individual’s name, state, and last three addresses. This prevents people from providing false identification.
Other screening procedures by the church might include a motor vehicle report or a local police record check.
The results of all screening procedures are kept in strictest confidence. Most of these procedures include certain rights for you as a volunteer, such as disclosure of the results. See 7.7 for a form that summarizes these rights.
2.8 EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
Faith Community United Methodist Church is strongly committed to recruit and equip volunteers for all levels of ministry positions according to their skills, abilities, talents, experiences, and spiritual gifts. Our church follows the guidelines established by federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws. We treat all volunteers equally without regard to race, color, gender, national origin, veteran status, or mental or physical disability.
This is important even if you have no concerns about your own opportunities, because as a volunteer you need to remain alert to avoid words or actions that could be seen as racially, sexually, ethnically, or disability based. All workers are entitled to be treated with respect, and the church won’t tolerate disrespect for personal dignity.
Of course, this policy isn’t simply motivated by legal or policy guidelines. The Bible clearly says that every Christian can do ministry in some way! Each person has important work to do in the church, regardless of age, gender, education, or any other perceived “difference.” Consider these verses:
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”
—1 Corinthians 12:28-31
“If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; it if is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
Clearly, all Christians have God-given abilities, skills, passions, and gifts that God desires us to use to build up the body of Christ and to glorify God. Whether your ministry is big or small, whether you serve in front of crowds or complete your duties with no one else around, God has a place where he wants you to serve. And he has built the church so that others also have places to serve as well. Every position and every person carrying out a ministry deserves your respect.
Process: If at any time you have suggestions, questions, concerns, problems, or complaints about this policy, you’re invited to speak to any pastoral staff or church governing board member. You may want to submit your query in writing to ensure that you receive an answer and so that concerns and complaints can be investigated thoroughly. Each query will be investigated thoroughly, promptly, and in a confidential manner.
2.9 AMERICANS WITH DISABILITY ACT
Faith Community United Methodist Church encourages and wholeheartedly accepts people with disabilities to serve in volunteer positions. The church works to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by taking the following actions:
- Considering all individuals with disabilities for ministry service using the same criteria that are used for volunteers without disabilities.
- Considering volunteers with disabilities for supervisory roles using the same criteria that are used for individuals without disabilities.
- Taking steps to make church facilities barrier-free and accessible according to appropriate state and federal statutes.
- Making scheduling and other adjustments to reasonably accommodate volunteers with disabilities.
- Educating other volunteers that individuals with disabilities who serve as volunteers in the church should not be discriminated against.