Real Answers From Real Ministers' Wives

Recruiting Volunteers For Meals

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Q. I am looking for a creative idea on how to get your congregation to sign up to cook meals for special occasions at church like: church anniversary, monthly birthday party, pot-luck, etc. It's been like pulling teeth. A sign-up sheet doesn't work. They don't sign up and I (pastor's wife) end up cooking lots of food. HELP!

"I've noticed many of you take responsibility for the planning/organizing of these things. "

There are many things that do not fall into my domain. (baby showers for instance) and I don't do them. Dinners however, are one of the things I love to do, so planning one is no big deal to me. I am also excellent at delegating so the sign up sheet I may not pass around, even if I print it up. If I go this route. (love the name! lol "sign-it-up-gal!") For general potlucks though, (not funerals, & other events where visitors may be attending) I usually go the same route you do. "What there is is what we get" I do think though that it's a shame for those that do bring food, to have to suffer right along with those that don't. Maybe we should say, "Go to the front of the line if you brought something besides yourself" lol

We have a ministry for almost every task in our church, thus we have a kitchen ministry -- a group of individuals who are solely responsible for providing food at various occasions. It's primarily a group of older members who enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen, so its not a burden on them. When there are events at the church in which food is involved, that group submits a request/menu for the event along with their budget. Someone from the kitchen ministry meets with the group/event leader after all is approved, and it goes from there. Desserts, drinks & sometimes salads are donated by cm's, and the kitchen ministry prepares and provides the main dishes. It runs very smoothly and I am not involved on any level -- thank God! We have a fairly large congregation (approx. 600), so this works for us but a smaller church is probably a bit more challenging.

I like the Sunday School approach. You have peer pressure Like Oh, CM, you just have to make that wonderful Ham Gravy! People are more likely to sign-up if they think they are being watched :P

Did you know that in the book of Acts ( I believe ) it talks about the importance of volunteers... volunteers were carefully selected.. it was an honor and a responsibility. Stephen waited tables and look how powerful his testimony turned out to be.

Maybe people need to be taught of how valuable volunteers are and the important role they play!

I work full-time outside of the home so I am not always available to prepare meals for functions in the church. We have a hospitality team of women who prepare meals for our events. It has worked well for our church.

After having no success with anyone wanting to bring food for occasions here's what we did:

We took up $5 per family. (Most churches have at least 10 families.) We went to Wal-Mart with the money. They sell bulk food, like chicken (100 pieces already fried for $50-$60) and large cans of corn and such. We'd get chicken already fried, canned corn, green beans, rolls, and a plain sheet cake for dessert; we'd make sweet tea for the drink. Most of the people ate it the first time or two and were fully satisfied, then after the third time they ate that same meal, someone came up with this brilliant idea, "let's do pot luck". The person who came up with the idea was put in charge of it for that event.

It was rotated throughout the congregation after that for each event and continued after we left.

When I asked why people wouldn't volunteer before I got answers from, I am often busy so I'd rather just pay and have someone fix it for me, to I don't cook that well, to I didn't know if people would like my food and I'd end up having to take it back home.

So the people there clearly had a lot of issues that my husband and I weren't aware of before going there. After we had a few of the fellowships as noted above people were happy to cook because it is amazing how food will get you to talking about what dishes you make the best and etc.,

I didn't mind cooking, corn, green beans, and making tea. I mean how long did that take?? I believe that we do have to lead by example and how can I ask others to do what I am not willing to do.

The one thing I've learned is that we have to have wisdom as pastors' wives. I got the desired results without asking repeatedly!

My 2cents!



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