Taking volunteer leadership to the next level takes work…and yes we are constantly working on it. Our normal view of volunteers in the church/non-profit world is of a “worker” not as the leader or vital supporter of the mission. What we have found at GCC is that it is very important to find high impact volunteers and elevate them to volunteer staff…leaders of leaders…people using their gifts to further the goal of reaching our city for Christ. Volunteers want to be a part of the team. Sure they need leadership, they even want it! They also want to be able to give input and feedback as we lead. Here are some of the ways we are trying to elevate the role of volunteer…
- Ask for feedback and listen even when it is not asked for >> we listen to our volunteers when they contact us. Why? Because they know where we are going as a church better then anyone else. We ask for feedback and we listen when we are approached with a concern. Volunteer leaders need to know they have a voice.
- Trust volunteers with significant responsibilities >> counseling, leading small groups, leading ministry teams, training, creating. We empower volunteers on all levels of the organization to do significant things. Gifted volunteer leaders want to be in the mix and do not mind doing hard things. Being “paid” is not required to have an important role on the team.
- Train and Mentor >> we are trying to create a culture of leadership so we have to train, mentor, and inspire our volunteer teams. We take volunteers to conferences, we do online training, we pair up volunteers for one on one mentoring. Investing in volunteers pays of on better leadership form volunteers.
- Connect >> we want our volunteers lead as a family, to enjoy teamwork, to be known. When volunteers join the team they are joining a leadership family. A good volunteer team is one you love spending time with. (if ya don’t like your volunteers you might have the wrong people on your team!)
- Place volunteers in the right roles >> We work hard to evaluate volunteer leadership and assist volunteers to find roles that fit their gifts and passion. Yea, this takes work and patience and it goes way beyond just filling holes in our ministry. We we also work to promote volunteers to new levels of leadership when we see they can lead on the next level.
- Seek wisdom from volunteers >> In times of challenge or times where we had to make significant decisions in church I have watched our team seek wisdom and prayer from key volunteers. I know this is an art but every leader needs to have a few other key volunteers that they can go to in critical times of organizational life. In your organization’s your volunteers do amazing things in their jobs day to day…they may have wisdom you need to gain from!
- Keep volunteers in the loop >> volunteers should be kept in the information loop. Keep volunteers up to speed on where the organization is headed. Our volunteers should have key info and be able to spread key info!
Those are a few things we are trying to do to raise the level of volunteer leaderships here at Grace Community. How are you empowering your volunteers?