Do you have volunteers who just “put in their time”? Ever get frustrated with the commitment level of your volunteer teams? Perhaps they are feeling more like helpers rather than ministers. Knowing how to transfer ownership of ministry may be the most important skill a leader can learn. Start the process by promoting these three concepts with your volunteers:
- Know the cause. Do your volunteers know the reasons they do what they do? Does Scripture support the cause of the ministry? If you and your volunteers can’t make this connection, then perhaps the program should be dropped. Look for scriptural references to the program, and connect the ministry cause to the biblical foundation. For example, a basket-weaving ministry that sells its product and supports a local food pantry gives a Jesus-centered cause for the volunteers who are needed to make the baskets. Volunteers who just do the task without understanding the biblical cause will never take ownership.
- Understand the position. How has Jesus modeled the ministry we’re asking volunteers to do? As volunteers discover they are the mirror of God’s love, they’re validated in the tasks they perform. Incorporate this principle in your volunteer training. For example, when you teach hospitality skills to your greeters and ushers, make sure they understand how Jesus was accepting of all people—regardless of their outward appearance.
- Engage the heart. Is there an emotional connection for your volunteers when serving? We often promote just surface-level serving because we’re focused on the task of what volunteers accomplish rather than helping them see God at work through their service. The Sunday school teacher who “just teaches” and never connects personally with the students will probably be a short-timer. When teachers develop a personal relationship with kids, they’re more vested for ongoing ministry. Help volunteers connect to their ministry task by encouraging them to develop closer relationships with the people they serve.
Editor’s Note: Learn how to involve more people in ministry with the online course, The L.I.F.E. Strategy for Recruiting and Equipping Volunteers, offered at Group U. Click here for more information.