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How to Reach More People by Leveraging the Volunteer Equation

Our staff leadership team had the privilege of learning from Daniel Floyd, Pastor of Lifepoint Church, a little over a year ago. One of the things we learned from him is something he picked up from Sam Chand, a great leader, and a great author. I call it The Volunteer Equation. I’ve written about it before, but I want to expand on it in this post.

I should mention a couple assumptions out the gate. One, I’m assuming you want your church to grow because you want to reach people who are far from God. Two, I’m assuming you track attendance, not because you care about numbers, but because of the first assumption. You may not track volunteers, but I would encourage you to and it’s necessary to leverage this equation.

The Volunteer Equation

The process of the volunteer equation is simple. You take your average total church attendance and divide it by the total number of individual volunteers you have. So, if your church averages 500 in attendance and you have 100 volunteers:

500 (attendance) / 100 (volunteers) = 5.0

5.0 = Reach Ratio

I call the resulting number the Reach Ratio. Reason being, that’s how many people you can reach for every volunteer you have. In that example, you have 1 volunteer for have 5 people. Unless something has drastically changed in your church recently, the way you do church takes about 1 volunteer for every 5 people in attendance.

Another way to think about is that you need 1 new volunteer to reach 5 new people. So, if you want to reach more people you should focus on adding more volunteers.

How It Helps You Reach More People

It’s probably obvious that the equation itself doesn’t help you reach more people. It’s the shift in your mindset as a result of this equation that can help you reach more people. The point of the equation is, don’t just obsess over attendance. You want to reach people who aren’t a part of any church, so attendance matters because people matter. Instead of obsessing over the attendance, obsess over the volunteer numbers. To understand why, let’s go back to the equation:

500 (attendance) / 100 (volunteers) = 5

What if you decided to obsess over growing the volunteer number? In fact, what if it was a huge focus in your church for the next month and, as a result, you added 50 volunteers? For the moment, let’s pretend attendance stayed the same, making your new equation:

500 (attendance) / 150 (volunteers) = 3.33

Now your reach ratio has changed and it’s 1 volunteer for every 3.33 people. But, that’s not the point. Your original reach ratio (5.0) is your number. Sure, it will fluctuate from time to time like you see here, but the idea is that it mostly stays constant. So, when you add 50 volunteers, you know what changes?


It looks like this:

150 (volunteers) x 5 (original reach ratio) = 750

Does it happen right away? No.
Is it guaranteed? Absolutely not.

However, we experienced the fruit of this last year when we grew our volunteer base by almost 25% and saw the highest attendance growth in years. Don’t miss it. By adding volunteers you have expanded the capacity you have to reach more people. Plus, volunteers attend more frequently and invite more, which helps you reach more people.

What’s your reach ratio? Share in the comments.

In the next post, I’ll share some practical ways you can focus on growing your volunteer base to leverage this concept.