Five things to help equip and encourage volunteers:
- Make the ask personal. When you have an opportunity to share, make the ask in person. People respond well to personal invitations.
- Meet with your volunteers. Invite them to coffee or treat them to lunch just to hear about their lives and how you might pray for them.
- Show your appreciation. Tell them you appreciate their contributions in writing. For instance, you might Challenge yourself to write three thank you notes every week. You can use the time you’re writing to pray for your volunteers.
- Celebrate volunteers. Celebrate volunteers publicly whenever possible.
- Volunteering happens in seasons. Understand that people serve in seasons. Life happens and people come and go. You must build this fact into the rhythm of your serving culture.
What are some things you do to help encourage and equip volunteers?
Have you ever considered the importance of asking good questions? Asking good questions is essential for the church planter. I could go a million directions with this one so let me keep it simple.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions. Open-ended questions get people talking. When people talk they’re building relationships. Example: Tell me about the time when Jesus became real for you?”
- Minimize the closed-end questions. Information is good but it doesn’t lead to conversation. Example: “Is Jesus real for you?”
Helping people navigate their spiritual journey requires you get to know them. I am convinced relationship leads to transformation. You’ve got to give people the opportunity to talk about and process the gospel. Learning how to ask insightful and open ended questions is therefore essential.
I want to be clear: this glue stuff serves the mission.
I spent yesterday afternoon hanging out with church planters. I was reminded that the business of church should never–ever–become more important than the mission.
In my context this means that every new initiative and idea must pass through the mission filter. At Restore, we keep it simple. Does X proposal, idea, innovation, piece of gear etc. ultimately help people find their way back to God? If the answer is yes, then it’s on the table. If it doesn’t, we toss it out with the trash.
It’s always about the mission.
So you get a call from one of your key leaders, someone who is passionate about Jesus and serving others. She tells you that she’s entering a new season in her career and needs to step back from leadership for awhile. This is someone who has had a great impact on the people around her. She will be missed.
What do you do? Celebrate of course! That’s right. Celebrate. Because leadership happens in seasons.
Simply celebrate all of the great things that the leader accomplished. Sure, we will miss all of her gifts and abilities, but God has done something through her and so celebrate.
It’s OK for people serve in seasons. We church planters need to get our heads around the fact that people will come and go. And when a leader says their season is over, don’t take it personally–don’t fret. Celebrate all that God has done through the leader and trust that God will provide new leadership for the next season.
We don’t have a communication specialist at Restore. But our team appreciates how important it is to communicate well. So I meet with some of our staff once a week to talk about communications.
The first thing we do is review last week’s assignments. We ask a simple question: How effective were we last week in communicating what we wanted? Accountability is key. Doing what you say you’re going to do when you said you would do it is essential.
Next we talk about what we need to do this week. We ask ourselves some simple questions:
- What is the ONE thing we are trying to communicate this week and why?
- What conversation are we trying to start via our social media outlets and why?
- What content needs to be removed to maintain clarity of our message?
Oh–and last but not least, we ask for everyone’s last 5%. What is it you want to say or do that we haven’t addressed? This way everyone leaves the meeting feeling that they’ve been heard and team doesn’t miss anything important that needs to be communicated.
What about your church? Who handles communications? How have you structured your team to handle the various tasks? How do you know people are getting the message?
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