How to Get Ministry Volunteers Started with Online Training: Myths, Tips, and Tricks

I’m sure there are plenty of myths, but I’m going to hit on 3 big ones that tend to trip ministry leaders up the most.

Myth #1: If you build it, they will come.

Generally speaking, that’s bad advice. And although Kevin Costner made it look easy in Field Of Dreams, very seldom do crowds show up at venues, real or digital, without being told to show up. Bottom line, you have to tell people about your new online training initiative. It’s 100% up to you to communicate with your volunteers that new training is available and ready for them online.

Myth #2: If I think it’s important, my people will think it’s important.

One of the things I’ve learned in ministry is that my passion isn’t everyone else’s passion. Some people I lead will “get” the vision quickly, but the rest will take time. And even then, they’ll only “get” what’s important to you if you communicate it relentlessly. Don’t assume your people will see what you value based on one email or a mention in a meeting.

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Myth #3: People hate training.

People actually love training. People spend billions of dollars on training every year. Most people love to improve themselves. What they hate is being bored and most church training is way too boring. What they also hate is wasting their time and most church training could be done in a lot less time.

Tips for Getting Volunteers into Your TrainedUp Account

Every new tool is a little different and presents slightly different challenges. Those challenges are magnified when you’re trying to get dozens or hundreds of others to use that new tool. Here are our top tips for getting your people to login and participate in training in your TrainedUp account.

Tip #1: Don’t “invite” them.

The TrainedUp “invite” tool is great for adding a single person in certain situations, but the best way to get people involved is to share TrainedUp with them directly. Copy your course or account link, write an email with some context, and include the link. Your people will have a better idea of WHY they’re being included in this online training tool.

Tip #2: Say it again and again.

Great communicators repeat themselves. When I was in Bible college, my preaching professor had a simple sermon framework: “Tell them what you’re going to say. Say it. Then tell them what you said.” The point is that people need to hear something more than once for it to sink into their mind and stick. If it’s important, then you need to communicate the importance of your TrainedUp training over and over.

Tip #3: Hold people accountable like it matters.

If training is important, then it only makes sense that you’d hold people accountable to complete the training. Of course, TrainedUp makes that easy with our reporting tools and transparency into each person’s training progress. But you still have to do the work of following up with people who are lagging behind.

Tricks for Keeping Your Volunteers Engaged

It’s one thing to get your team to check out your new TrainedUp account. People are generally curious about new things, so that’s not too hard. But what about keeping those people engaged and coming back for more?

After watching over 15,000 people go through TrainedUp courses at over 800 churches, here are a few tricks of the trade that I’ve seen work wonders.

Trick #1: Be yourself.

We’ve included a webcam recorder as an option for creating videos for new courses in TrainedUp. When leaders use that feature and just “be themselves”, engagement is far higher. People know you as their ministry leader and they trust YOU. Leverage that to keep them engaged in training!

Trick #2: Put your most critical, need-to-know training on TrainedUp.

Some are tempted to put second-tier training on TrainedUp and keep the critical stuff in person. That’s exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Your most important and vital training should live on TrainedUp. That’s where you can hold people accountable and build habits.

Trick #3: Think like a vlogger. (Yes, I spelled that right.)

Training doesn’t have to be a big production or only happen from time to time. In fact, with TrainedUp, you can start to realize the usefulness of ongoing, consistent training. Help your volunteers build a habit of interacting with training by recording training and update videos regularly. Like vloggers build habits in their audience, you can build habits in your volunteers.