2. Create a Successful Format
This format seems to work for my volunteers:
a. Share your “God moments” in students’ lives. (This is kind of what Andy Stanley calls talking about your “wins” in ministry.)
b. Share struggles you need help with. I open up the meeting for anyone to share struggles or ask for clarifications about the ministry. I also ask other leaders to provide feedback and advice. It’s a great way to empower the knowledge base of veteran volunteers to help the rookies too. When they can give the advice, I love to sit back and listen!
c. Training tip. This is usually a “teachable moment” based on what I’ve been seeing in our events and programs.
d. Message series and teaching schedule coming up in the next two months. (This includes a schedule handout that includes the message title, big idea, Bible passages, and creative ideas.)
e. Calendar, events, etc.
f. Any other business?
3. Meet Somewhere Great
Whenever I can, I try to hold volunteer meetings at a coffee house or someplace similar. In our city, we have a Panera Bread. We hold meetings on a Saturday morning and treat volunteers to coffee and breakfast. It helps us all relax and be more conversational. Plus, it beats church coffee!
4. Get Feedback on Best Meeting Times
Instead of assuming I know best, it’s better to ask leaders when is the best time. For my discipleship leaders, they said Saturday morning is best. But my large-group leaders want to meet immediately following the Wednesday evening program. Given the option of being out on another day, they said they prefer to “get it all done on the same day.”
5. Split Up Teams
I have all my leaders together for BBQs, Christmas parties, and year-end “Firing Parties” (ask me about that, if you’d like). However, for the meetings every two months, we meet by team or program. Having everyone together would only water down the content and make much of it seem irrelevant to certain people. Even when I’ve had smaller volunteer teams, I still found it’s important to meet separately. With that said, as mentioned, it’s imperative to have times when “we all come together” to celebrate, connect, and build each other up. It’s also important that I connect the dots for how all the programs and teams work together to fulfill the vision.
Finally and, I think, most importantly…
6. Teachable Moments Are Just As Important As Meetings
When we’re at youth programs with leaders, some of the best training opportunities come from quick, teachable moments. Also remember to encourage your helpers in what they’re doing. Not everything has to be covered at volunteer meetings.
This is what I do, but I’m sure other things work for different groups. What ideas can you share for leading effective volunteer meetings?