Untapped Church

ISBN: 9781632695635

Author: Derek Sanford


Discovering the Hidden Potential Hidden in Your Congregation

The greatest untapped resource in today’s church is high-capacity volunteer leaders. Many people in many churches are largely untapped which means available but not used.

In 2011, the pastoral staff at Grace Church in Erie, Pennsylvania began inviting additional leaders from within the congregation to become staff members without pay. These voluntary leaders were given job descriptions, business cards, problems to solve, and people to lead. They were given responsibility that matched their capacity, and Grace Church created a culture where volunteer leaders had the potential to rise to every level of leadership within the organization.

In Untapped Church, Pastor Derek Sanford explores this exciting new approach to church. The book is structured into two main parts. The first part tells the story of the church’s journey toward volunteer leadership. It explores biblical foundations, philosophical shifts, and real-life stories of leaders who have been tapped for kingdom impact. The second part of the book is much more practical in nature. It has the feel of a how-to manual.  Beyond that, Derek hopes other pastors will take his idea further and make it better than he ever dreamed it could be!

Untapped Church will inspire you to discover the potential hidden in your own congregation.

Author Bio

After growing up in one of the snowiest cities in the US, Derek Sanford seemingly defied all logic by rejecting other offers to relocate to where the sun shines, instead choosing to stay and establish his ministry in Erie, PA. With degrees from Taylor University and TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), Derek weathered some worship wars, youth pastoring in the nineties, and a near church split and has remained at the same church, Grace Church, for the past twenty-five years. Grace Church is a multi-site church with a rich history. Derek also founded a nonprofit called ServErie which has now mobilized over 100 churches and organizations in hands-on service in Erie. Derek married his high school sweetheart, Kim, who runs a construction company (she wields the power tools in the family); they have three amazing kids: Caleb, Chase, and Ayden. As a washed-up athlete, Derek still enjoys old-man sports like golf and racquetball.



A characteristic of Christendom was to view pastors and church leaders as professionals who were paid to do ministry and facilitate mission. As Christendom fades, churches are reawakening to the biblical concept of the priesthood of all believers—where ordinary everyday church members have the privilege, honor, and most importantly the call to participate in the ministry and mission of the church. I pray that Derek’s book, Untapped Church, will be a fresh vision for how non-paid church staff can play vital roles in the ministry and mission of local churches.”

-Ed Stetzer, Wheaton College


Derek Sanford is on to something big and he tells you about it in his new book, Untapped Church. It’s a game changer! You understand the importance of raising up volunteer leaders, but Derek will inspire you and show you how to reach the potential of high-capacity volunteer leaders that function as staff members. Through story and practical principles this may be the breakthrough book for you and your church!

-Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor, 12Stone Church, Lawrenceville, GA. Author of Confident Leader!


If you are looking for ways to take your volunteers to the next level, you’ll definitely want to read Untapped Church: Discovering the Potential Hidden in Your CongregationI hope you’ll go on this journey with author Derek Sanford to learn how to unleash the high-capacity potential in your church to serve for greater impact. Untapped Church is what you’re looking for in this next ministry season.”

-Dave Ferguson, Lead Visionary – NewThing

Author – B.L.E.S.S. 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World


You don’t have to hang around a group of pastors long before you sense the only thing holding them back is that their particular church is under-resourced. But is it? What if the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Philippi were still true for all church leaders today? What if God has already supplied us with all we need to have an impactful church? With words and authenticity that only come from a seasoned and experienced leader, in Untapped Church, Derek Sanford dismantles the myth of the under-resourced church.  With practical steps and real-life examples, Derek demonstrates how God truly has supplied each church with all that is necessary to become a healthy and contributing part of the body of Christ.  Following Derek’s example, may we dare to dream of what might happen if only we would unleash all of the potential that God has already placed within our churches.”

-David Ashcraft, Senior Pastor, LCBC Church


I’m not sure there’s a more important leadership understanding than how to invest in and serve volunteers. Pastors and leaders [who] ignore the most important resource they have will never move the ministry as far as they could. My friend, Derek Sanford, is one of the best equippers of volunteers I’ve ever seen. So listen up to an amazing leader as he equips YOU with skills to do the same in his new book Untapped Church!

-Tyler Reagin, Founder and CEO of the Life-Giving Company and Author of the new book Leading Things You Didn’t Start

Retail Price: $14.99