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How to Care For Your Volunteers

The topic of caring for and training your team of leaders is key to a healthy ministry. Here are a few practical ways you can add more personal care to your team:

Know them well

I (Josh) remember when a key leader at our church remembered all 4 of my kid’s names without missing a beat. It was a big deal! I stumble over my kid’s name sometimes, so it was totally impressive. It was a reminder to me that sometimes the little things send big “I care” messages. Set up recurring calendar alerts to trigger a reminder about a birthday or important date in their family history. Stalk them on Facebook – whatever it takes. Truly caring for the leaders on your team is one of your primary roles….and you can’t truly care for them unless you truly know them.

Surprise them

My (Josh) wife is shocked when I bring home flowers. My (Kurt) wife is shocked when I pick up my socks. Their delight and surprise is because for most people there are few things better than a “I was thinking of you” gesture. Write an unexpected note, or buy a small “thank you” gift for someone in your ministry, and see how they respond! We recently sent our volunteers fresh-baked cookies in the mail. We’ve shown up to their place of work to deliver ice cold drinks, and we’ve given them an unexpected weekend off…and paid for them to go on a date when they would normally be serving at church. Surprise!

Be there when things go bad

Life is full of good, bad and ugly things. Show up when life takes a rough turn or they get bad news. Caring for your teammates in need is one of our key responsibilities as leaders. You know this feeling all too well – there’s nothing worse than a leader who feels distant when you need them most. Be present. Send a card. Send flowers. Attend the funeral, even if you didn’t know their great-aunt Matilda. Give them time.

Be quick to coach, forgive and restore

One of the final aspects of caring for your leaders is showing them grace. Over time you’ll begin to master the nuances of caring for your team – when to drop the hammer, when to forgive, when to overlook and when to make a big deal out of something. Sometimes the best way to care for a leader is to show them grace by giving them a second chance.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.