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2011 was a year that pushed our family ministry team to make some big moves. God used the Orange Conference to help us see the direction we needed to go, and God used a specific breakout, led by my friend Tom Shefchunas, to help me see we had to get better are empowering volunteers to lead ministry and not just fill roles on Sunday. Here are my notes from that session. They still inspire me months later so check out these ideas from Tom about freeing volunteers…

“Freeing your volunteers.” That statement can mean a million things and it really sounds good when you say it. This afternoon Tom Shefchunas 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 to creating 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.