Volunteers make or break our ministry. So many times we spend hours getting volunteers without having a plan to empower and free them to actually do ministry when they show up. Volunteers want to spend their time doing significant things and we better have a plan. One of the best breakouts I ever went to at the Orange Conference (which you can register for this week!) was one on volunteers led by Tom Shefchunas. Tom (some of you know him as Coach Shef) helped us wrap our minds around creating ministries full of volunteers who are pumped to be there, using their talents, and seeing progress. Many of our ministries simply just have volunteers serving out of obligation. Freeing volunteers means we are actively create a culture where leaders thrive. Freeing your volunteer team is not about changing people it is about changing the culture. Here are some steps Tom gave us to help create that kind of culture…
Resolve yourself that this will take time. >> You don’t see a culture change your realize it has changed, change takes time. Changing a culture takes intentional long term attention and focus!
Get great people in the room. >> organizations have to get the right people on the team, the right people off the team, and the right people in the right seats. Nothing defines your team like the people on your team. A healthy culture can push people to be more! Look for people with time (willing to give their time), mature faith, and character.
Decide this is not your ministry >> Leadership is a stewardship and I am just leading once small part of it. We often build our ministry around our personality with no other foundation of a volunteer team. Not a good idea. Will my ministry outlast my time leading it? We have to empower team to the point when we leave it moves forward with strength!
Simplify your strategy and define the volunteer’s job and role. >> If you want your leaders to feel like they are important give them something important to do.