Why do some leaders seem to be more natural at developing volunteers while others struggle? The good news is that this is not a mystery, and the principles and skills can be learned.
Leading volunteers isn’t as simple as “Do you want to be an usher?” It’s part of a spiritual process, a transforming process that moves a person from a predominantly natural worldview to a Kingdom mindset.
If we treat volunteers like a mere transaction, (we need you to fill this role,) rather than part of transforming a community, the end results will always be less than desired.
I’m not suggesting that any leader would treat volunteers poorly, isn’t appreciative or has the wrong motives. But issues of pace and pressure, (demands of ministry,) can cause us move more quickly than we are able to communicate our heart while building teams.
The following are three fundamental principles that help establish a strong foundation for leading volunteers.
- Our passion for building great people must be greater than our passion for building a great church.
- People are not the means to an end in church ministry, they are the focus of our attention, and the purpose for which we serve.
- Leaders and volunteers alike are human, the process is messy not perfect. Therefore, a measure of grace in both directions is essential.
4 Traits of Leaders Who Thrive in Developing Volunteers
1. They Demonstrate an Awareness and Understanding of Human nature in Contrast to Redeemed Nature.
Even the apostle Paul said about himself, “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise” (The Message, see Romans 7:14-23).
This is true of all of us. And we’re aware of simple realities like the difference between those who sign up and those who show up. I’m obviously not suggesting that’s a sin, but it is human nature.
However, in order to avoid frustration and intentionally extend grace there are basic realities we need to understand.
Human nature does not naturally and consistently seek to serve others. Human nature tends to drift back to self and put self first.
I catch myself “drifting back” often, like in traffic or in line at a grocery store behind someone who is looking for their coupons. I can be far too impatient with others, and then I remember how patient God is with me.
There is good news.