Empowering Volunteers March 18, 2013Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Leadership, Volunteers.
I was thinking back recently about the year I transitioned from working on a single campus, the University of Rhode Island, to the Student LINC team and coaching multiple campuses from a distance.
I remember how nearly every year while we were visiting churches and ministry partners we would tell about all the great things that God was doing at URI. Invariably someone would tell us how great that was, but how come there wasn’t a ministry at Mansfield University? The answer every year was the same–we didn’t have enough staff to place on the smaller schools.
That year of transition, someone asked me again about Mansfield. Because we were moving to Student LINC, the answer was different. I told them if they knew someone who wanted to have a ministry there, I could coach them.
The issue changed from what I could do to what others could do as I resourced them.
Our team read a very interesting book last Fall, The New Breed: Understanding & Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer, by Jonathan and Thomas McKee.
We say in our ministry that we want to become more of a volunteer-led ministry. Quite honestly, we will never get to all the places we want to get to unless we do utilize volunteers.
Here is an excerpt from the book that I found fascinating. pp.82-83.
Let’s say that Jim, one of your office volunteers, walks toward you holding a football. Unfortunately, your organization isn’t the NFL. It’s not even a local rec league. This football represents a “problem.” Jim says, “While you were gone on vacation last week, I had a problem with one of our members.”
This illustration came in the chapter on managing volunteers. We think once the volunteer is on board, then we are go to go. But the literature tells us that most volunteers quit because of bad volunteer management. How we recruit, train, and coach them is not only critical to their growth and maturity, but to the overall success of our missions.