8 More Ways to Get Your “Church Sitters” Out of the Pew

I’ve written in the past about how to get church members involved. All of our churches, though, still have them – members who attend regularly, but who don’t get involved. If you want to get them involved, though, try some of these additional ideas: 

  1. Ask them personally. I remain convinced that many people sit in our churches because no one has ever asked them personally to serve somewhere. They may have heard generic “y’all serve” announcements, but it’s a lot easier to ignore those than it is to ignore a personal challenge. Ask members face-to-face to serve. 
  2. Openly and loudly announce that you’ll provide training for workers. Some folks are open to serve, but they fear they won’t know how to do what the job requires. Offer strong training, and make sure people know about it. They’re more likely to serve if they don’t feel like they’re alone. 
  3. Publicly honor those who are serving faithfully. Here, I’m not talking about praising people rather than praising God; I’m simply saying that publicly thanking people who serve will encourage others to serve, too.
  4. Enlist members to serve when they first join the church. In my opinion, new members should be serving somewhere not long after they complete the church’s membership class. Their first roles may be simple ones, but engage them at the beginning—when they’re most willing to serve.
  5. Strategically pray by name for members who are sitting. Jesus told us to pray for more laborers (Luke 10:1-2), so do what He taught. Pray for each sitting member, asking God to move him or her to want to serve somewhere. You might be surprised by what God does.
  6. Send out passionate servants as recruiters for their ministries. The appeal of an elected “nominating committee” can never compare to the heartfelt plea of someone who believes in a ministry. Use the best recruiters: those who are so on fire for their work that it’s almost impossible to tell them no. 
  7. Preach a sermon series on service, and include specific needs and opportunities as application. It’s the latter part of this statement that is my focus. Preach the Word’s call to serve, but also give clear, specific, intentional instructions for how to get involved in your church. Prayerfully force your members to think, “I might be able to help there.”
  8. Provide sign-up opportunities immediately after preaching each sermon in the series. I realize that some positions require more vetting than others (e.g., Bible teachers), but challenge your members to take immediate steps toward obedience. Limit the devil’s opportunity to snatch the Word away.

What would you add to this list? What has worked for you and your church? 


  • David McBryar says:

    I have seen churches recently have a video of a volunteer and their ministry play on screen during announcements. Sometimes people do not know the need is great and to see a volunteer themselves explain it is much more personal than the pastor getting up and making an announcement. I really love this idea!

  • Mark says:

    Let people volunteer in areas where they have interest and experience without administering litmus tests. However, the selection of volunteers is all politics. If you have not been there since the beginning or at least a generation or two, you’re deemed too new. If you aren’t really well-known, you can’t volunteer. I have seen when the committee leader/deacon does not want any new people. When you get rejected once or twice, you don’t offer your services again as you know aren’t wanted and find another charity that would appreciate your efforts.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.