April 1, 2011

What I'm Reading

Been reading Tony Morgan and Tim Stevens book, Simply Strategic Volunteers. I must say, I have been very much encouraged by their thoughts on recruitment and empowering the Church to get out of their seats and into the game. It has refined a lot of my thoughts on our volunteers and better ways to facilitate care and resourcing.

I've also been very intrigued at the importance that these two place on expressing vision effectively and precisely. If there is one thing that I could do without, it is constant and consistent surprises. You are probably saying, how does that work? I'm referring to constantly finding surprises as a leader; unspoken expectations, deeper time commitments, more guilt for not being available at the last second. This is a stereotype that gets applied to most Youth Pastors because of the amount of times that things slip through the cracks (I have much more to say sometime on this one.).

Regardless of where you are on that topic, there are many things that I am learning we could do better with as a ministry and as a church. I'm wondering, what do you value?

As a volunteer, what are some things that you value to know?
What are some surprises that you would much rather have gone without?
As a student, what helps you understand the "why" behind the madness?

Leave a Comment!


Small Town Girl said...

Don't sugar coat the commitment level. Be blunt, be clear, be thorough. Print a calendar that has every date, meeting, service, everything listed. And then stick to the calendar. If you're scared you will scare off a potential volunteer when you lay out all that is required of him/her, then you don't want that volunteer, since they will become frustrated & the ministry will become a burden, no longer fruitful.

Appreciate that your volunteers are sacrificing time away from their family to serve with you. They are giving their evenings, their days off, their weekends, their own money, some even their vacations. They are serving because they are passionate about the ministry & are willing to make that sacrifice. Never forget that or make little of it. There is no worse feeling than being taken for granted.

Become a volunteer yourself. As a full-time minister, your job & ministry are blurred together. In order to fully appreciate the sacrifice made by your volunteers, you need to volunteer your own free time, money, & maybe even a vacation to serve others. Be involved in a ministry outside your own. Give of yourself completely. When you do this, you will learn what it means to minister without a paycheck, giving up free time & your day off. One thing I learned as I transitioned from being a pastor's kid to a layperson is that laypeople serve the church on what would be called their "days off." Life actually was easier in full-time ministry as the church was very supportive in not burning out their pastors. The workplace is not. Volunteers still have to balance work, family, & ministry. There may be times when you will have to be that voice of reason & actually ask your volunteer to focus on themselves & their family. When you serve in a separate ministry, you experience the sacrifice you are asking of your volunteers. I'm not saying give all your free time, days off, or vacations to ministry, but be willing to sacrifice some of this. If you ask your volunteers to do it, then you should be doing it yourself. When your volunteers see you serving others outside your job, they will know you understand.

If you find that you can't give of your own free time to volunteer because it would take away the precious, small amount of time you do have with your family, then you are doing too much & you need to cut back. If you're too busy, then you're volunteers are way too busy. Quality is more important than quantity. Do fewer things well.

Be discreet about the generosity of others. Too many times, especially during these economic times, people are offended by the perceived "big spending" of their pastors. If someone gave you a gift card to a restaurant, a vacation, an expensive gadget, or even cash to spend on yourself yet want to remain anonymous, then don't announce to the world (blogs, twitter, facebook, etc) what you are doing/receiving/buying. When times are tough, people cut back. These are the same people that faithfully give of their money to the church, so the cutbacks are going to come through family vacations, entertainment, buying things, etc. They are doing without these things to maintain their budgets & still give to the church. When they hear about a pastor buying this, going there, etc, it is hurtful,even if the pastor has been given these things. Unless you are making a public announcement that you were given this vacation, gift card, or iPad, don't announce it or talk about it. If the generous giver wants to remain anonymous, then their gift should remain unknown to everyone else. Unintentional hurt feelings can derail a ministry pretty fast.

Geoff Cocanower said...

Sorry that I haven't been able to respond! I have some thoughts that will be written out in the next couple weeks.

Been praying for you! Hope that you get to come home this weekend!