Treat Your Volunteers Right
By Butch Hunter
Volunteers are one of the most valuable assets in your ministry. Every good leader is always supported by a great team. Most of our teams are volunteers. These people are the backbone of our ministry programs. They are the ones who help you, the ministry leader, lead people to Christ.
I heard it once said that you know you are a leader when you look behind you and see people are following you.
For some people this can be difficult, but you don’t want to become a Lone Ranger in ministry because it limits your influence in how God can use you.
If we want ministries that have a lasting impact we need to be able to build solid teams that will support the vision God has entrusted us with.
It’s like this…. (air bag illustration)
Having a great team is vital to make an impact.
WARNING: Don’t just put anyone on your team. Take time to pray about who God wants on your team and what position they are to play. This will save heartache and headache in the future.
With our teams we need to keep in mind that they will only be as passionate or excited as we influence them to be. What I mean is this, if you’re on fire, your team is likely to be warm. If you’re warm, they will be chilli’n.
We want our teams to run red hot and passionate about reaching people for Christ.
The truth is that we all get tired and deflated at times– when the pressures of the world and circumstances get to us we be come like this balloon. As leaders we need to keep ourselves tapped in to God on a daily basis. This is one of the best things you can do for your team. If you’re not being feed and challenged, how can you feed a team or bring them to new horizons? We need to be filled up and rocketing toward the vision God has set before you.
Rocket balloon (illustration)
As leaders we love our volunteers and would do whatever we can to help them be successful in their ministry. I believe there are 5 key areas in which we can help our leaders be the best they possibly can. All volunteers want to be:
Connected, Included, Valued, Appreciated, and Challenged
So, today I want to look at a few ways we can help our teams in theses areas.
Scripture: Mark 9:35 Jesus called the twelve together…
Peel and Pull Twizlers (illustration)
1. People volunteer because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s our job to help them find out where they fit into the puzzle of the church and in your ministry. This is helping them discover how are they connected.
2. This is helping them see how what they do makes an impact for the kingdom of God.
3. This is also helping them to see the big picture of where they’re going. In a word “Vision”
4. Communicate to your team!
b. Show them what you want, don’t just expect it.
c. Coach your team.
If you show them a great vision, but fail to tell them how they’re going to get there or you don’t give them the tools to be successful and clearly instruct them how to use them, they will be LOST!
“Bugs Life Clip”
Scripture: Mark 9:36 Jesus went further and connected the dots.
We need to do more than communicate we need to help our leaders connect the DOTS.
1. Include your team in planning.
2. Dream with your team.
3. Listen to your team.
4. Give assignments and delegate. Start small.
5. When you communicate provide opportunity for feedback that will be addressed.
6. Let your volunteer’s buy-in to what God has started in you.
Scripture: Mark 9:37 Jesus showed the value of his followers– they are precious to Him, a treasure.
1. Validate their contribution to the ministry.
a. “Catch” leaders making a difference.
b. Share transformation stories
i. In person
ii. In writing
iii. On social network communities
iv. With their peers
2. Empower them to take ownership of their slice of the vision.
3. Show the leader they are valued
Let them know they are truly treasured
Scripture: John 13:1 Jesus showed his love for them.
Volunteer’s contributions matter and pointing out how they’re making a difference gives encouragement and meaning to their service.
1. Thank you cards
2. Thank you gifts
5. Play, have fun together
Give volunteers lots of kisses. (Hershey kisses)
Scripture: John 21:15-19 feed my lambs, care for my sheep, feed my sheep, follow me
Don’t be threatened by a volunteer knowing something you don’t. Try and guide them in ways to use their new talent or skill to benefit the ministry and you. Help them see how they can help you achieve the goal of the vision in your ministry.
1. Give opportunities to grow.
2. Take them to conferences,
3. Give them resources
4. Help them to take advantage of opportunities outside your church. (camp, mentoring, 4-H, Kids Hope, Scouts, ect)
I have given you Sweet-Tarts because even though the candy is tart at first, it becomes sweet leaving you wanting more.
This what we want for our leaders- it’s hard at first, every challenge is. Once it’s mastered it is very sweet, and they look for the next challenge.
Remember: Luke 12 48 “who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Make sure you, Treat Your Volunteers Right!