Alice couldn’t understand why she was having so much difficulty getting volunteers to serve as Greeters. She had managed the front office at First Church for 15 years and knew everyone in the congregation. What Alice didn’t know was that her volunteers perceived her as, well, let’s just say, not very friendly.
Ministry leaders often focus on programs over people. There’s always a fire to put out, a slot to fill, or an item on the infamous ‘to-do’ list. We get so caught up in task-mode that we forget ministry is built on our relationships with people. And volunteers are people!
Volunteer magnetic leaders know how to develop friendships with those in ministry. The relationship begins the process of inviting people to serve. We attract others when we demonstrate care, concern, and appreciation. For those with social styles that are more people oriented, this may come naturally. Those with more task-oriented styles will have to work intentionally to make this happen.
It’s important for leaders to frequently evaluate themselves to see if their relationship with volunteers is affirming. We’re often tempted to gauge our effectiveness by the success of our meetings, task completion, or the program outcomes. But the real test of ministry leadership may be on a more personal level. Years from now your volunteers won’t remember the awesome meetings you led, but they will remember how your life impacted theirs.
Take this quick assessment to discover if you’re a magnetic leader.
Give yourself 3 points for “Always”; 2 point for “Usually”; and 0 for “Never”.
- I spend time with my volunteers in non-work related activities.
- I set aside time each week to pray for my volunteers.
- Volunteers approach me to enjoy personal conversations.
- Other people see me as kind in dealing with problems and disagreements.
- Most of my volunteers would say I’m patient.
- I’m flexible even when I’ve planned everything out.
- I maintain a balance between being fun and being serious.
- I respect the opinions of my volunteers even when they’re different from mine.
- I partner with volunteers in planning events and activities.
- I regularly express words of affirmation and appreciation to those who serve.
Use this score to celebrate your magnetic qualities and to examine ways to improve the quality of your leadership to volunteers.
21-30 Give yourself a standing ovation.
10-20 You’re on your way. Keep looking for ideas to improve what you’re doing.
Below 10 Taking this assessment is a good beginning. Continue to work on ways to improve.