One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to know when and how to “handoff” ministry to a volunteer. Like a great quarterback, it requires skill and discernment. If the handoff fails, it means someone dropped the ball and ministry suffers.
Here are five rules for your playbook for effective ministry handoffs:
Rule One: Don’t hog the ball. Give it away. It all starts with a willingness to trust another ball carrier.
Rule Two: Label each hand off as either delegation or empowerment.
- Delegation level: Let’s talk about it before you act. Use this level with the one-time, one-event driven volunteers who show up to do a task—the classic episodic volunteer.
- Empowerment level: Go ahead and act, then tell me about what you did. Use this level with your faithful volunteers that you have coached and you trust the to make decisions that benefit your mission.
Rule Three: Secure the handoff with a check-up appointment. Always set a time to see how the project is going and how you can help.
Rule Four: Break down the task to manageable goals. Michael Jordan didn’t think of averaging 32 points a game. He thought about getting 8 points a quarter.
Rule Five: Don’t take the handoff if you can’t do anything about it. How many projects clutter up your desk that you never touch? Don’t take them in the first place. To paraphrase Ken Blanchard in his “putting the monkey on your back” metaphor, he says that we must determine if we are going to shoot the monkey or feed it. We probably ought to shoot a bunch of monkeys.
Good handoff skills are necessary to avoid disaster. Sloppy handoff skills may not be noticed when you only have ten or twenty volunteers. But when your ministry grows, those bad habits will catch up with you big time. So master these basics for ministry effectiveness.