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Volunteers can make or break the ministry/church you lead. Really, they are the foundation of everything you do since they set the tone for so much of what happens in your ministry. For our family ministry (preschool, k-5, and student ministry) volunteers greet kids, welcome parents, are the first to connect with kids and teens, teach the Bible, lead worship, and it goes on and on. Not really sure if many of us who are point leaders step back enough to evaluate how we relate to our volunteers. Do we connect with them as “worker bees” fulfilling our mission or do we see them as partners and co-leaders? I will admit I went through my phase of making sure volunteers just did their job and soon found myself overwhelmed and wondering why there was not more passion from my volunteer team. That changed when I started viewing volunteers as staff vital to the organization. When volunteers begin to be viewed as fellow staff on our team we empower, train, inform, and listen to them in different ways. We start giving away ownership and freedom do to their job. We allow them to question and have input. It is at this point where volunteers can buy in with all their heart because…THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DO MATTERS! When volunteers are treated as staff it allows you to begin to find influential people who will invest at a high level in your ministry. At the heart of every volunteer is a desire to do something significant. They are ready for next level leadership. Let’s empower them, support them, do ministry with them instead of asking them to be THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE ORDERS FROM US. The effectiveness of your volunteer team depends highly on how you lead and relate to them. Lead and treat them well.