Humble Volunteers: The Secret Sauce in Your Ministry

One of our staff members at Elevation used to work at Chic-fil-A. He claims to know the secret about how they make the chicken taste so delicious. He shared it with me. Interesting theory. Sorry, I’m sworn to secrecy.

People have asked me quite a few times over the several years something like this:

What is the secret sauce that has helped Elevation to grow rapidly and make a big impact?

Obviously, the secret sauce is Jesus.

But that’s not what they’re asking. They’re looking to learn how Jesus through the Holy Spirit is working through us in a specific, tangible way.

Additionally, it always feels funny to try to explain what you’re doing right when you know there are so many areas where you want to do so much better.

With that said, I do think there’s a secret sauce that you would discover if you spent some time behind the scenes at Elevation Church. It’s something that I’ve seen God bless over and over again- not just in our church, but in churches, businesses, and families all over the world. And it has nothing to do with my preaching or the Sunday morning worship experience.

The secret sauce? It’s the humility of the volunteers on our team.

By humility, I don’t mean sheepishness. When I say I’m inspired by the humility of our team, here’s what I mean:

They submit their pride and preferences to God’s plans and purposes, and deflect the glory to Jesus.

  • Our creative team has had to completely scratch a finished product that took them hundreds of hours to create because it wasn’t the best thing for the worship experience.
  • Our ushers have had to respond with kindness to angry parents who dropped F-bombs when they were asked to leave the auditorium with a crying baby so that people could hear the Gospel undistracted.
  • Our worship leaders have practiced and performed many songs they didn’t personally like with a great attitude and wholehearted effort because it best supported the message.
  • Our volunteer leaders have accepted hard correction about the way to lead their teams, made the adjustments, and come back the next week, even though they’re not paid to.
  • In the administrative department- I walked through and saw 7 people in Volunteer Headquarters pounding away on keyboards, entering first time guest data just moments before I wrote this. Very few people have any clue about the hard, tedious work they do. But that’s not why they do it.

And on and on.

Elevation team- thanks for serving up the good stuff with humility every week.

You’re the secret sauce that God uses to make this thing so special.

Read more from Steven here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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5 Words Toward a Stronger Esprit de Corps

The hallways often reveal more than the boardroom.

What you hear in the hallways is often a better indicator of the spirit of your team than what is said in the boardroom. I’m not suggesting that your team isn’t honest in your meetings. But they are more relaxed in the hallways, in the break room, or anywhere a cup of coffee is shared where you work.

How is your team doing? Are they happy? Are they energetic? Are they productive? Do they face adversity well? Do they get along? Your answers give insight to the level of Esprit de Corps.

Esprit de corps is a cool word. Not just because it’s French and I can’t spell it without looking it up. But because it says so much! It embraces the idea of a sense of unity and of common interests. It carries the notion of common responsibilities of a group committed to a goal together. It’s about a team of people connected not just to a goal but real relationship with each other.

Esprit de corps is closely connected to the idea of morale. A team’s ability to maintain high morale reveals commitment to a deep belief and mission, even in the face of difficulty or hardship.

> Generosity

We often think of money when it comes to generosity, and that is part of it. But a spirit of generosity reaches much farther than finances alone. It’s a way of living. It’s about time, faith, love, and kindness and more. Generous people think differently than those who are takers by nature. Generous people think larger, believe bigger and possess a positive attitude. Generous people love to give, but they also see it strategically. Generosity is not all about goose bumps and emotion, but making wise investments into people’s lives with intentionality.

When you lead your team with generosity you lead with a spirit of giving more than taking. Some leaders are takers, they want more from you than they pour into you. That diminishes morale. I remember one leader saying to me, “But I pay them! I expect them to show up and get their work done!” He did not have a spirit of generosity! It’s reasonable for him to expect his staff to show up and work, but he had a demanding spirit rather than a developing spirit.

> Trust

I have been part of the team at 12Stone® Church for twelve years. I have served as Executive Pastor under Senior Pastor Kevin Myers. From day one Kevin has trusted me fully. That is critical, without it I can’t lead. Trust is different than respect. Respect must be earned, but trust needs to be extended as a gift from the beginning and removed only if it is broken.

Trust is essential to a positive sense of esprit de corps. If you don’t trust your team, it’s as if you are holding back the oxygen they need to lead. They just can’t breath! It’s as if you put them on a short leash and tied them up to their desk, they can move, but not much! If you find it difficult to trust people, I encourage you to reflect on why. Have you trained and developed your team? Have you been hurt by someone? Do you have control issues? Are you a perfectionist? What would it take for you to trust? Without trust, empowerment cannot exist, let alone thrive.

> Empowerment

Trust is where empowerment begins. The first component of empowerment is to trust with responsibility. Connecting this principle with a spirit of generosity allows us to see that empowering isn’t dumping work on someone, it is trusting them with the responsibility of accomplishing something that is important.

No one wants to be micro-managed. “Small” leaders attempt to keep power and control, they “meddle” and some even have a heavy hand on everything. Empowering leaders set people free. It’s not about letting people do whatever they want. Empowerment is the right mix of freedom and guidance. It involves communication, goals, and training. These things allow us to free people up so they can grow, excel and achieve more!

> Alignment

Your team loves the trust and freedom that comes with empowerment, but they also love, need and want boundaries. People hate chaos, and they know that if everyone “does their own thing,” nothing of significant impact will be accomplished. High morale is experienced teams that work together and head in the same direction. A sense of productive esprit de corps comes to a team that enjoys being with each other and wins together. Independence breaks down alignment. In contrast, organization and agreement of goals builds alignment. I love track and field in the Olympics, and I really enjoy the relay races. Can you imagine if each of the four runners on the team ran whenever they wanted, in whatever direction they wanted and never handed the baton off to the right person? Alignment is essential!

> Caring

The impact of simply caring is staggering. At times I think it’s becoming a lost art. Please don’t misunderstand. I believe that church leaders care. They really do, but sometimes the demands of a busy schedule can result in an inability to keep up with everything. You have a finite amount of energy, in fact, you run out of energy to demonstrate that you care. You are so busy making things happen, (and getting things done), that your relational bandwidth runs thin.

The good news is that the remedy is often simple, and as long as it’s from the heart you are good to go! It might be a hand written note of encouragement, a public expression of appreciation for a job well done, a quick phone call, or a cup of coffee with someone just to see how they are doing. It could be as simple as a thank you card with a Starbucks gift card inside. It’s usually just not that complicated. We just need to do it!

I pray these thoughts encourage, guide and inspire you and your team to a greater sense of esprit de corps!

The Pastor’s Coach is written by Dr. Dan Reiland and is available via email on a free subscription basis. You can subscribe by clicking here.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

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Appreciating Volunteers – 33 Actionable Ideas

Volunteers are the life blood of your church. In fact … your church literally wouldn’t exist without them! Often it’s small actions that show your true feelings about your volunteer teams. Why not pick a few of these things off this list and try them this weekend at your church? The first step towards building healthy volunteer teams is making sure that your existing team members feel appreciated!

  1. At the beginning of every “shift” make sure team leaders cast vision for “why” their service is critical to the vision of the church.
  2. Visit every service area that you are “responsible” for this Sunday and say “thank you.”
  3. Send birthday cards.
  4. Every time a volunteer serves send a “what to expect” email three or four days before.
  5. Assign some people to spend time with new volunteers on the first weekend they serve with you.
  6. Take time out during the message to brag about how amazing your volunteers are.
  7. Get to know what’s happening in your volunteers personal lives.
  8. Make sure there is a enough work for volunteers to do when they arrive … don’t waste their time!
  9. Food … always have a meal available before or after they serve.
  10. Make it easy for your team leaders to send regular thank you notes to their team members.
  11. At the end of every “shift” take time to hear what the volunteers think could be improved on for the future.
  12. Open up leadership development opportunities for volunteers to advance in the church.
  13. Don’t impose new policy’s and procedures without at least talking them through with your team.
  14. Throw parties regularly.
  15. Write letters of reference for students volunteering with you.
  16. Read “impact emails” that you get about how great your church is to your team.
  17. Easy off ramps … don’t lock your team into perpetual service!
  18. Send out a press release to your community paper celebrating your team when they do something “above and beyond”.
  19. Make sure your volunteers are “first to know” about exciting things happening in the future of your church.
  20. Give them a team t-shirt
  21. Make sure everyone has a name tag on.
  22. Use quotes from your team members in your “annual report” … or other donor targeted communications.
  23. Calculate how many hours your volunteers have served in that last year and celebrate that!
  24. Reinforce regularly with paid staff that our #1 role is to support our volunteers.
  25. Take pictures of your volunteers serving and post them on various Social Media channels.
  26. Make sure your volunteers have the best equipment you can afford for them to work with.
  27. Create easy channels for your volunteers to communicate with the church leadership.
  28. Insist that the church reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses.
  29. Send ‘em a hand signed Christmas card.
  30. Have good coffee and a few snacks available when they arrive.
  31. Allow some volunteers to gain more influence & take on more responsibility.
  32. Take at least one volunteer a week out every week to thank them and get to know them better.
  33. Buy 10 books that have impacted you and give them to 10 volunteers who have gone “above and beyond” recently.

Read more from Rich here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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Clarity Process

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9 Secrets of Dynamic Weekly Team Emails for Ministry Leaders

Sending out a weekly email to your team is an effective way to make sure that your people are focused on the same thing going into the weekend. A good weekly email is part logistics reminder part talking points and part motivational propaganda. If you don’t currently send out weekly emails to your teams it would be a great practice to start getting into! Here are some critical factors to consider when sending out weekly team emails to people at your church:

  • Predictable Time. // Pick a time during the week and try to stick to sending it then. For me, I think sending these emails out on Thursday mornings fit well into the rhythm of our work flow. Everything is (generally) settled for this coming weekend and it gives people time to digest it before the weekend.
  • Lead With Vision. // Make sure a piece of the email points back to why we are doing this work. Remind people about the reason for the church’s existence. Share a quick “win” from the weekend before. The more you can draw direct lines to what is happening this weekend to the “big picture” the better.
  • Use Pictures. // We live in a post literate world … communicate with pictures.  😉
  • High Information Density. // People are going to be receiving this email every week and so you need to make it worth their while to open it up.  Avoid lots of fluff but rather attempt to pack it full with as much helpful information as possible. Write it and then edit it to find ways to say the same thing but with less words.
  • No Surprises! // Make sure to focus on things that might be different or out of the ordinary for the team so they aren’t caught off guard. Look for “variance” in your weekend experiences and take extra time explaining those details to your team.
  • Skimable & Deep Dive. // Format the email in such a way that people can quickly skim over the topics and then pause to dive deep into those areas that impact them the most. Provide links and attachments for people who want to go even deeper with more information. The team should be able to quickly gather the “big ideas” for the weekend but those people who want more details can access those as well.
  • Track the Usage. // Find a way to track if people are opening your email and clicking on the links provided.  For me I use Boomerang for Gmail to do this … it let’s me “secretly” track how many opens each email gets and what people are clicking on. (Email systems like Constant Contact, Emma or Aweber do this as well.) Keep an eye on the usage patterns of your emails and adjust what you are doing so more people open and use it.
  • Leave Some Gifts. // Occasionally leave some development resources for your team as a “P.S.” to your email. Even if your team doesn’t download them and use them it’s a simple way to show appreciation to your team. The keeners on your team will download those resources and will love checking your emails to see what new goodies you have every week!
  • Mix it Up. // There is a balance making your emails predictable so your people know “how to use” them and also making sure they don’t get stuck in a rut. If every email was so different it would make it harder for your people to find the information they are looking for but it’s also fun to add some different elements every once and a while. Put in a cartoon from something that made you smile about church leadership. Shoot a “selfie video” talking about what’s coming up on that big weekend. Include a free MP3 with a song that inspired you about what your church is talking about.

Here some examples of weekly emails that I’ve sent to my team: [This one was from a month ago.] [Here is the one I sent the week after Easter … always a tough weekend to keep people motivated!]

Read more from Rich here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Hidden Axioms of Volunteer Management in Your Church

Effective church leaders are excellent volunteer managers. Managing your volunteer teams within your church is a nuanced and mysterious journey … It’s not always obvious what it takes to lead them well!  Here are 5 truths that I’ve found that weren’t obvious when I first start leading in church!

  • Volunteers are Donors // In a very real way volunteers are paying us to create a positive service environment for them. Treat volunteers well because they are the ones paying your salary!
  • Strategize for Friendship // We need volunteers to do tasks to make church happen however volunteers want to build relationships with other people. We are responsible for creating a service environment where friendship blossoms.
  • More Opportunities = More Volunteers // Effective church leaders find ways to create more “spaces” for volunteers. Rather than a scarcity mindset that focuses on not having enough people to fill roles … our job is to create more spots for people to serve.
  • Release Earlier // Give away the leadership of your volunteers to other volunteers as quickly as possible. Become a leader who leads leaders.
  • Think Outside the Weekend // There are tasks and activities that you could be leveraging volunteers throughout the week that would accelerate your ability to serve people. Pull volunteers into operation of what you do during the week!

What have you learned about managing volunteers over the years that wasn’t obvious when you started leading in a local church?

Read more from Rich here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

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Seven Steps to Move Members into Ministry

Sam attends his church faithfully every Sunday, but he is not involved in doing ministry through his church. Others view Sam as a committed member simply because he is there every Sunday morning, and no one would dare question his faithfulness.

Yet, Sam is really doing nothing in his church.  How do you move members like him into ministry?  Here are some basic principles we learned in a study published in my book, Membership Matters.

1.  Pray for Laborers

Jesus gave us clear guidelines for securing workers: pray for God to provide them (Luke 10:2).  The fields, He said, are ready, but the workers are few.

My experience is that churches look for laborers, and they begin praying earnestly only after they’ve not been able to secure workers through their established processes. Is it possible we would have less difficulty enlisting workers if we started praying before recruiting?

I encourage churches to build praying for laborers into their DNA. The staff and church should pray not only for current workers, but also for potential workers. Prayer meetings should include a time of focused prayer for more workers, even when all the current positions are filled. God will provide the laborers if your church will follow His command to pray.

2.  State Expectations Up Front

Here’s the primary reason church members don’t get involved: churches expect very little.  One of the best ways to correct this problem is to state expectations in a membership class.  Our study shows that churches with effective membership classes stress five expectations of members:

  • Identifying with the church (e.g., through public baptism)
  • Attending worship services and small groups
  • Serving in the ministry of the church
  • Giving financially toward the church’s work
  • Promoting unity in the church

Stating these expectations is no guarantee there will be no members like Sam in your church, but not clarifying expectations almost assures you will.

3.  Have a Ministry Placement Process in Place

In the churches we studied, leaders had an intentional placement strategy.  Those strategies included the SHAPE concept (Rick Warren), the DESIGN program (Wayne Cordeiro), BodyLife (John Powers), and Network (Willow Creek). These processes are built upon the assumption that God works through our life experiences, desires, spiritual gifts, personalities, and abilities to prepare us to serve in His church.

4.  Recruit Face-to-Face 

We asked laypersons in our study why they chose to get involved in their church’s ministry.  Listen to the personal recruiting that their answers reflected:

“A minister spoke to me and challenged me to get active.”
“The Minister of Education sat me down and talked to me.”
“Two guys approached me and asked me [to serve].”

Leaders in the churches we studied did not recruit workers through bulletin board sign-ups, worship folder tear-offs, or pulpit announcements.  Rather, they sought workers by challenging members face-to-face—the way Jesus recruited disciples. In most cases, a personal challenge and invitation made the difference.

5.  Offer Entry-level Ministry Positions

Not every member is ready now to be a teacher, a deacon, or an elder.  All members might, however, be ready to take on the challenge of “entry level” positions that allow them to get involved in the church.

Entry-level positions include parking lot greeters, refreshment committees, class custodians, choir members, and any position that does not demand significant training.  The goal is to help everyone get involved at some level as quickly as possible so new members feel needed and wanted.  Moreover, entry-level positions help to evaluate potential leaders, as a person unwilling to serve in an entry position probably won’t make a good servant leader later.

6.  Recognize and Affirm Workers

Too often, we take for granted dependable church members who serve week after week. To be fair, most of these workers would not want any recognition, but their reticence to be recognized does not let us off the hook.  We honor God by affirming His work in the lives of those who give their best for His church.

One simple way to recognize workers is to sponsor an annual Workers Banquet.  Cater it, publicize it, and make it special.  Not only will the current workers be grateful, but potential workers will also see that their church will appreciate their service.

7.  Don’t Give Up Easily

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul taught that God puts His church together as He wishes (12:1-11). Our task is to help members find their role, challenge them to serve, equip them, and hold them accountable.  This work is not easy, though, and sometimes it’s tempting just to give up and overwork the current workers.  Rather than taking that wrong step, the answer is to return to principle #1 and start the process again.

What specific action does your church take to move members into ministry?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chuck Lawless

Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Six Insights for Leading Lay Volunteers at Your Church

One of the greatest blessings in churches today and throughout history is the number of men and women who gladly and often sacrificially give of their time and energy to do ministry in local congregations. Indeed, churches across the world would not function as they do without the giving spirit of these lay volunteers. Paid staff alone are not sufficient to do all the work of ministry in any church.

Simultaneously, one of the greatest challenges for leaders in churches today is the recruiting and retention of these lay volunteers. Indeed I have had several conversations with church leaders who have seen significant successes and blessings with the mobilization of laity in their churches. I am particularly grateful for the insights given to me by Jess Rainer of Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and Eric Geiger, who recently served at Christ Fellowship in Miami.

These two men, as well as several other church leaders, shared similar stories about their challenges and victories in lay mobilization. In this post, I share with you six insights I gleaned from several leaders who have been successful in recruiting and retaining lay volunteers.

  1. Training is critical. In one of our recent studies, almost all the pastors surveyed affirmed the importance of training lay volunteers. Sadly, the same study showed that only about one-fourth of those pastors had any strategy for training volunteers. Training creates ownership that results in motivated and giving volunteers. I am excited that LifeWay will introduce in just a couple of months a new and incredible resource to help churches across the world train their laity effectively and inexpensively.
  2. Affirmation should be ongoing. Most lay volunteers don’t get involved in church ministries for the attention or the affirmation. But when leaders affirm their work, it communicates to the volunteers that their work in ministry is important. People want to know they are involved in something that makes a difference. Affirmation gives them that very message.
  3. The relationship between the laity and paid church staff should always be a partnership. Church leaders should continuously communicate that all work of ministry is a co-laborship. There is no organizational hierarchy where the laity submits to the church staff. One group does ministry as a calling and vocation. The other group does ministry as a calling and unpaid service. Both are vital in the life of the church.
  4. The form of communication with laity is critical. As much as possible, vocational church leaders should spend face-to-face time with lay volunteers. They should learn how those volunteers like to communicate. For some, a text message is fine. For others, they want to hear a live voice. But all of them need some personal interaction with the paid church leaders.
  5. Start lay volunteers with bite-size responsibilities. Don’t overwhelm them with a task or ministry that appears daunting. See how they respond to smaller, well-defined tasks at first. From that point, leaders can discern if the volunteers can take on more ministry responsibilities.
  6. Communicate with clarity and specificity. Many lay volunteers quit out of frustration because they think their assignments are neither clear nor specific. Don’t assume volunteers have the same level of insights or knowledge as those whose daily work and responsibility is at the local church. It is better to over-explain and to be redundant than to assume the volunteer has significant prior knowledge about the ministry assignment.

How is your church doing in mobilizing laity to do the work of ministry? What are some victories and success stories you could share? What are some struggles you have experienced?

Read more from Thom here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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Louise — 10/08/13 3:30 pm

I've served numerous churches as a paid staff member and as a volunteer. By far, being a volunteer has been the most frustrating and painful. If I didn't love God and His people with everything in me and feel an intense call of God to win/disciple the lost, I would move to a cabin in the woods, seek God as a monk, and try to avoid dealing with church foolishness. I've had numerous experiences where specific staff never returned phone calls or emails. There is one church that my husband served as part-time staff for 4 years. The pastor was very good about returning calls/emails. Once we became volunteers at that church, though, the staff person who oversaw our area would hardly give us the time of day. At another church of 1,000, I had to copy the senior pastor whenever I emailed the Staff person who oversaw the area of ministry I was a leader in, or that Staff person would never respond back. (Sad, that the Senior Pastor had to put pressure on him to do something he should have done without pressure.) Often staff neglect to include volunteer leaders in decisions made in regard to their ministry. My whole budget was cancelled for one outreach ministry I had been recruited to lead, because of a church building program. I had no money to run it or promote it. (Sad, I had 100 people from the community participating in this outreach program. ) At the same church, I led a Wednesday night Bible electives ministry and the pastor and his associate made the decision to combine everyone into one group, without involving me or notifying me (I read about it in the bulletin.) After 10 years, we left that church and no one ever asked why. It seems like it should be common knowledge that people need to know about a class before they will attend, yet some churches make it very difficult to publicize a class. Before the Wednesday ministry was changed, the pastor had made decisions that cut out most avenues for promoting classes in the church. No inserts in bulletins, posters around building, and there was no info station, so the only place left was to put flyers, on the inside doors of the bathroom stalls. In another church, a new staff member took over the media department. He didn't trust a volunteer experienced marketing person/writer to put together updated flyers of discipleship classes, so a year went by with nothing to provide people. The website, only showed some of the groups. (How long does it take to fix a template or type up/print a flyer?) Result: Group attendance suffered and it was hard to build new groups. Better to use a volunteer, even though that volunteer might come up with a different design that you would. (Staff member: Don't complain about limited time when you aren't using the people resources He provided you.) The church I attend now doesn't track attendance or believe in taking surveys. They have a revolving door and have lost most of the youth and young couples. It's too bad the staff don't seek out faithful volunteers to receive insights. The volunteers are the ones who are sitting in the pews, talking to those around them, before and after service. The staff seems too busy dealing with the urgent and organizing the next worship service./event to really listen. Well, now that I got that off my chest, I will continue to fight the good fight!

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Signs of an Up and Coming Leader

In 1 Samuel 10 Saul is anointed as King over Israel. As soon as he was anointed as the leader, 5 signs occurred that I see in the leaders of today (or I should say the great anointed leaders of today).

New Heart

God changed everything about him. His new heart gave him the compassion, the passion & determination to lead. He had a new found ability to control his emotions and thoughts in ways he never knew before. A new heart from God, brings new priorities & paths.

New Words

He prophesied with the prophets. He spoke about the things & plans of God with boldness and great conviction. This is certainly the characteristic of an anointed leader! He hears from God, and proclaims it with boldness. Not walking in fear of man, but in reverent fear of God!

New Followers

“Valiant” men immediately were called by God to go to his side. When you are an anointed leader, God will always send valiant men & women to surround you and hold up your arms. They will guard you, speak life into you, and also the truth-even if it hurts.

New Enemies

When you are truly an anointed leader, the vision God whispers in your ear and those words you hear from God and proclaim, will draw critics and enemies out of the wood work! Don’t be caught off guard. Great leaders have great enemies!

New Authority

“Do whatever the occasion requires, for God is with you.” God raises up great leaders for great purposes. When they begin to put everything in place to fulfill that great purpose, many decisions will have to be made. Great leaders show humility, honor & confidence in decision making.

Those following them trust them, because they can see God’s anointing on their lives. They know they hear from God, and are determined to do what God says, and only what God says!

So, the question should be: If you are a leader do you have all of these signs? If you don’t, maybe God hasn’t brought you to your full place of leadership yet. Be patient, you can’t rush the process! Saul lost his anointing for being impatient!

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Artie Davis

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Volunteer Culture: Debunking the Myth that Volunteering Takes More Time, Part 5

In the last post and next couple posts about creating and cultivating a volunteer culture, I’ll pull from my second book, Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging, to review some common myths that prevent people from stepping up to serve in the local church (or any organization).

Myth #2: “Volunteering Requires Too Much Time.”

This myth may or may not be true in your church. If the only way to volunteer at your church is by serving every week for hours at a time, the above statement may not be a myth; it may be an unfortunate reality.

  • Debunk MYTH #2
  • Create first serve opportunities. We picked up this concept from Willow Creek Community Church. At Willow first serves are “one-time serving opportunities offered at a variety of times and tapping into a wide range of skills and areas of interest.” Their mantra is “Come once and check it out. No strings attached.” People are invited to help prepare the auditorium for weekend services, care for cleanup during services, assist with maintenance projects and more—one time. It’s a first serve.
  • Provide a variety of schedules for serving. There are roles in our children’s ministry that require a weekly serve for sixty—ninety minutes each week, so that our children experience consistency with the adults and students who lead them. There are other volunteer roles in children’s ministry and almost every other department that are as infrequent as once a month. Volunteers can serve in some areas on a seasonal basis, such as our Green Thumb teams who spruce up and maintain the landscape of our campus during the spring and summer months (We’re in the snow belt of Northern Indiana. There are other unique and courageous teams who clear snow and de-ice pavement during the other months.)
  • People make assumptions. People know people who serve 2, 5, 10, 20 hours a week. They assume that’s what’s required to volunteer – so they don’t. People will live their assumptions as reality unless you say otherwise. Find creative ways to allow people to serve without requiring them to quit their jobs to do so.

Adapted from Lasting Impressions, Group Publishing

Read the rest of the series here: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4.
Read more from Mark here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Waltz

Mark has spent the past 25 years serving and leading people. While many of those years were focused within the local church, he brings marketplace experience from retail management, as well as career development and training. Regardless of his work or ministry context, he is about investing in people, because he believes people really matter. Think of him as a "people advocate." A sought after consultant and trainer, Mark has helped local churches of all sizes improve their guest services experience. Today Mark serves as executive pastor at Granger Community Church where for the past fourteen years he has been a unifying force, overseeing adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. As Granger’s chief guest services practitioner he still inspires teams of volunteers who make Granger Community Church a relaxed, rejuvenating and relevant experience for members and guests. Mark also oversees Granger’s multisite campuses.

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Volunteer Culture: Debunking the Myth that Volunteering Takes More Time – Part 4

For the next several posts about creating and cultivating a volunteer culture, I’ll pull from my second book, Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging, to review some common myths that prevent people from stepping up to serve in the local church (or any organization).

MYTH #1: “There’s no room for me; it’s all being done already.”

  • You and I know nothing could be further from the truth. Unless it’s really true, of course. Maybe your staff is doing it all. Maybe you’ve structured things in such a way that there really are not new opportunities for new peeps. True or not, people tend to believe the myth.
  • For instance, at Granger our guests and returning guests pull into the parking lot where they are directed by a traffic team to an open parking space. At the front door of the building they are greeted by one or more volunteers who welcome them to the service. A team is ready at the children’s check-in area, with campus guides available if the family needs assistance getting to children’s launch zones or rooms. There are friendly teams of people throughout the children’s center and each classroom with a prepared room for the session’s activities. When they visit the restroom they discover that someone has cleaned the space, stocked tissue and deodorized.

In the auditorium they discover that someone has prepared a printed program, while someone else has prepared the space with seating, lighting and ambient music. During the service it’s clear that there were teams of artists who practiced and presented music, media and drama. The pastor was prepared with a message relevant to their world. Everything was thought of; everything was covered. “They must have all the volunteers and staff they need,” thinks the normal Granger attendee.

My guess is this is a common myth in your church as well. Every staff and volunteer leader knows it’s a myth. There’s always room for more volunteers.

  • Debunk MYTH #1
  • Talk about it. Don’t assume people will figure this out on their own. They won’t. Say the myth aloud from the platform. At Granger it’s a myth we frequently speak to, directly and simply: “There are abundant opportunities to make a contribution. There’s room for you.” And then we’ll point to the variety of areas where our people can jump in and make a contribution. It seems too simple: talk about it. But the simple is easy to overlook. So, I’ll say it again, talk about it.
  • “Chunk” new roles: In their book Simply Strategic Volunteers, Tony Morgan and Tim Stevens use this phrase to talk about breaking any volunteer project or role down to its many parts. If you have one volunteer responsible for getting the toddler space ready for the weekend, chunk the responsibilities to include more people: toy washers, floor cleaners, people who copy, cut or collate activity sheets. One person doesn’t have to do it all. As roles are chunked you create more opportunities for volunteers.
  • Make sure it’s a myth. If I hear a ministry area in our church boast of having enough volunteers, there’s generally a “come to Jesus meeting” called. If you have teams who can’t find ways to involve more people it needs to be addressed. In more cases than not, that team has stopped dreaming, become cozily settled in their “we four and no more” team of friends or hit a lull in their creative approach to include more volunteers. Only in our band where there are limited instruments do we occasionally find ourselves in a season of “enough.” Tony Morgan puts it this way: “The church can’t afford to have “Not Hiring” signs posted at the door.”

Adapted from Lasting Impressions, Group Publishing

Read Part 1,  Part 2Part 3

Read more from Mark here.
Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Environments >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Waltz

Mark has spent the past 25 years serving and leading people. While many of those years were focused within the local church, he brings marketplace experience from retail management, as well as career development and training. Regardless of his work or ministry context, he is about investing in people, because he believes people really matter. Think of him as a "people advocate." A sought after consultant and trainer, Mark has helped local churches of all sizes improve their guest services experience. Today Mark serves as executive pastor at Granger Community Church where for the past fourteen years he has been a unifying force, overseeing adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. As Granger’s chief guest services practitioner he still inspires teams of volunteers who make Granger Community Church a relaxed, rejuvenating and relevant experience for members and guests. Mark also oversees Granger’s multisite campuses.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.