Volunteers – more than just a position

By June 9, 2016Leadership

Volunteers - more than just a position

Volunteers more than just a position

Having worked with a number of churches over the years, I can tell you that many not only utilize, but depend on volunteers to execute services week after week. Volunteers are tasked with building, curating, executing, and visualizing nearly every aspect of Sunday services. From content curation, to board operation; from brainstorming, to set building; volunteers create and transform environments on a weekly basis.

We have to stop thinking of volunteers as workers filling a position and start seeing them as vital pieces to the bigger story.

Take a step back and think about this: could you survive this weekend’s services without any volunteers? More than just running lyrics, mixing monitors, or playing in the band…would you have coffee? Would the doors get unlocked? Would anyone say hello to first time visitors? We have to stop thinking of volunteers as workers filling a position and start seeing them as vital pieces to the bigger story.

Think about the amount of time you take dreaming, vision casting, planning, preparing, and building your services. Do you put that amount of effort into recruiting, training, shepherding, and mentoring your volunteers? For most, probably not. Yet week after week, month after month, and year after year we depend on literally thousands of volunteers to represent our churches. Volunteers are your greatest asset; they are more than just a tool.

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How do you engage your volunteers and show them that there’s more than just accomplishing a task each week? For me, it begins with relationship building. I don’t want to serve a ministry or church that I don’t know much about or feel like I’m a part of the team. Build relationships with people. Get to know folks. Find out their interests, hobbies, and history. You may find someone who is yearning for a place to serve but doesn’t know what that is.

We spend a lot of time when we hire someone here at TripleWide Media. Regardless of whether it’s a long-term, full-time staff member, or a summer intern, we want to make sure there is a great fit and a relationship that we can build upon. You can always teach someone a task, but you can’t always teach someone a particular attitude or personality.

Don’t force your introverts to serve as greeters and don’t stick your extroverts in the back room making copies and filling the communion trays week after week. I’m not saying don’t serve where there is need; I’m saying be intentional about finding the right people to fill the right role in your services.

You can always teach someone a task, but you can’t always teach someone a particular attitude or personality.

Give your volunteers time off. Even a rockstar volunteer needs a chance to recharge the batteries.

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Encourage your volunteers to visit other churches. Not just your greeters, but your entire volunteer team should know what it’s like to be a first-time guest. To walk into a room and know nothing and no one. This will give everyone the chance to see the role they play and how it impacts everyone who walks in your doors.

Finally, reward your team. Show them how much they mean to you. This can be simple notes of appreciation to summer cookouts or bigger events, but take the time and effort as a staff or volunteer coordinator to show your team that you truly appreciate their efforts.

Tim Southwick

Author Tim Southwick

Tim is the Brand Manager for TripleWide Media. He has 10 years experience in the event management world and has a strong desire to see visuals and media used to increase the user experience.

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