Let me confess something. For the longest time, I was not able to effectively accomplish this portion of the Volunteer System. As a young Youth Pastor working with volunteers who were mostly adults that were older than me, I felt intimidated by the thought of "telling" older adults what they should be doing.
I was explaining this to a mentor of mine and he pulled a Dr. Phil on me by saying, "How is that working for you?" What he was showing me was that being intimidated by training adult leaders was not being beneficial for the ministry and I needed to get over it.
A youth minister can teach and train a teenager all day long because they are naturally looking up to us as role models. But training adults somehow felt odd. That was until I realized this: Good Volunteers want to become Better volunteers. Then I saw the Youth Pastor not only as a mentor to students, but as a developer for leaders. This shift had to occur in my mind, and must occur in your mind too.
This thought process applies to Pastors as well as Youth Workers. If you are a Pastor, then you can't simply devote all your time to "caring." You are also responsible for "developing," and if that is the case, then you are going to have to put on your mentor cap.
So you have gone through the steps mentioned in the previous blog posts, and now you have a handfull of volunteers. What you will need to do, is meet with these volunteers on a regular basis. May I suggest a monthly "Volunteer" meeting. Now I wouldn't call it a Volunteer meeting. I would call it a "Leadership Meeting." Why? Because Volunteers in the church are the leaders. In the church, we lead by serving.
We do this with our Sunday School teachers once a month. And there are several reasons why you should meet in a training like this too:
- On-going training - Keeping the people sharp, and also it will sharpen you as you prepare training material
- Adress Issues - There WILL be issues. Actually, a leader looks forward to issues, because it means the opportunity to solve a problem. Solving problems is what a leader does best.
- Keeps everyone on same page - By having monthly meetings with your people, it gives you one common forum to adress all publicly. This way you are not going to each individual repeating the information. You can do it one time, and everyone heard the same thing.
- Face to Face time - We often we spend so much time with the people we are ministering to, that we end up neglecting our leaders. This provides a regular face-to-face meeting that you can pour into them, and continue developing relationships with them.
- Encourage Them - One way to do this is by reminding them of the Vision, and also discussing victories since you last met. If someone experienced a spiritual breakthrough, share that with all your volunteers. Matter of fact, I would suggest you start out the meeting by asking people to share victories - even if in their own personal life. This will bring a level of excitement to the rest of the meeting.
- Planning - By involving your volunteers into the planning process, they will take more ownership of the ministry and any events that occur. Hear their perspective, ideas, and solutions. This will be a great help to you and will take a great burden off your shoulders as they help carry more weight.
- Prayer - When leadership prays together, something marvelous happens. I think many problems in church occur when leaders don't pray together. I have never had a problem with someone that I was praying with.
What will you teach at the meetings? That will be up to you. At a Sunday School teachers meeting, we focus on material related to teaching, Sunday School Growth, reaching prospects, etc. Your vision will help you determine your training.
The main thing is that you plan it, and start asking yourself the question: "What can we do better?" This will show you what to focus on in your training also.
So, get out the calendar, shoot your leaders an email asking them what day would work for them, and put a regular, monthly training in place.
As for me, I am going to a Deacon's Lunch today. We realized that once a month was too far apart, so we scheduled a bi-monthly lunch to keep us all one the same page, and simply to give us a chance to get together without an agenda. And guess what, one of my Deacon's suggested the idea. (Your greatest ideas will come from your people)
Go do some training!!