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Letsconnectatorange_edited-1A few years ago at the Orange Conference I had the chance to hear Sue Miller (former Kids Ministry Director at Willow Creek) talk about volunteers. Sue is one of my favorite leaders in the world and she understands the heart of leading volunteers! Sue reminded us that very few volunteers leave our team because they hate “being with kids or teens.” With volunteers most of them quit because the environment sets them up to fail, they feel unwelcomed, or they lack needed support.

Sue gave us some questions to ask when we think about the volunteers we lead. When we recruit and build our volunteer teams we need to ask these questions…

Questions about our environment…

Are our expectations clear?
Is this a place or role I would want to have?
Are we giving our volunteers the needed support week in and week out?
What is the history and reputation of the ministry I lead?
Are we improving?
Is there an atmosphere of team around volunteers?

Questions about our mission…

Are we casting a big challenging vision for leaders to join?
Is our mission compelling?
Are we being clear with our purpose?
Are we recruiting to a vision or a need?
Are we making a personal ask?

Questions about our consistency…

Are we following up with volunteers?
Are we providing proper training?
Are we actually empowering, mentoring, and encouraging volunteers?
Are we setting them up to win each week?
Are we helping them connect to a family not a task?
Are we helping volunteers process and deal with conflict?

Questions about how value volunteers…

Are we making sure volunteers know the value of their role?
Are we thanking volunteers consistently?
Are we celebrating “wins” with volunteers?
Are we protecting the time of the volunteer?
Are we challenging volunteers to take the next step they need to take?

Volunteers are the backbone of a healthy family ministry. Take some time this week and ask these honest questions about your volunteer culture and then have the courage to confront the answers you discover!

If you want to connect with other next generation leaders trying to get better at partnering with the family check out The Orange Conference 2014. They open registration on October 10 so pray about bringing your team to Orange.