3 Roles for Leading Today’s Volunteer

3 Roles for Leading Today’s Volunteer
August 2, 2016 Bob D'Ambrosio

Does your church website have an online volunteer sign up process? Do you text your volunteers to stay in touch? Have you led a volunteer training on Zoom or Skype?

These simple questions illustrate how the volunteer landscape is changing and how important it is for those leading volunteers to change and grow with it. What has worked in the past may not bring the same results today. According to Thomas and Jonathon McKee in their book The New Breed, we must “adapt to the changing world of volunteer management.”

To be more effective with 21st century volunteers, you need to fill these three roles:

  1. Recruiter. Learn what motivates people—and how to draw those passions into active service. In this role, you understand how to recruit the new breed of volunteer who is driven by the “cause” of your ministry.
  2. Manager. As you step into the role as a volunteer manager, you need to understand how to empower the new breed of volunteer, who wants to be led, not managed. “Manager” is the position, not the method. “Coaching” is the work of the manager.
  3. Leader. Leadership requires us to articulate and communicate the vision of ministry—and inspire volunteers to be part of that vision. In this role, you understand how to establish the power and passion of your volunteer team.

Adapting to today’s volunteer may require adopting new technologies, approaches and communication methods. It may be helpful to step back, look at your overall volunteer strategy, and identify outdated or irrelevant policies.

Change is necessary to be successful in equipping today’s volunteers. Whatever it takes, and however uncomfortable change may be, it is necessary to make our ministry, our churches, and our volunteers thrive in today’s culture.


[Editor’s Note: Thomas and Jonathan McKee will lead training on Mobilizing Today’s Volunteer at Group Publishing, Loveland, Colorado, September 21-23, 2016. For more information, or to register for the early bird rate, click here.]

Bob D’Ambrosio is a 25-year veteran of frontline church ministry and now serves with Group’s content solutions team. He’s a trainer for volunteer equipping, a Refresh the Church blogger, and a ministry coach for Group U. Bob is a contributing author and general editor of the E4:12 Bible Study Series Better Together: Connecting to God and Others and Leading Out: Connecting People to Purpose.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *