What are the volunteers that serve in your church or non-profit organization thinking? What are their hopes, dreams, and needs? During the last 24 years, I have had to privilege of serving on two church staffs but have spent the vast majority of that time as a volunteer.
To assist church leaders in better connecting with those who have made the strategic choice to leverage their excess time and talent to serve others, the following are key items that volunteers wished their staff knew about them.
- We desperately want to make a difference with our one and only life. Everyone wants to live a life of significance. We have determined the best place to do that is in our local church.
- Our time is valuable so be organized and tell us what to do. We live very busy lives. When we show up to serve, please have us something important for us to do and be well-organized.
- We want to serve in context of community. People begin serving at a church for two reasons. First, to do something significant. Second, we are looking for friends. Always build a time of community into every volunteer effort.
- Our opinion matters. We make important organizational decisions every day. In addition, we are at Ground Zero in regard to what is happening at the church. Seek out and value our thoughts and insights. Don’t marginalize us.
- We want influence, not position. It is a common misconception that if you give someone a title, that will please them. It may not be a bad thing but it could be missing the mark.
- We want our efforts to be tied to and help make the church’s vision a reality. Volunteers want to know what they are doing makes a difference in the overall scheme of things and is not just a busy task.
- We want to grow spiritually. Our core desire to have our hearts connected with the heart of God.
- All we want is for someone to say “Thank you. You made a difference today.” Everyone wants to be told they are pretty. A simple expression of genuine thanks deepens the relationship with the church and inspires our continued efforts.
- We want you to ask us to serve. The #1 reason a person joins a cause or team is because someone asks them. There are dozens, maybe hundreds at your church who would love to serve if someone would just ask them.
- We want the freedom to take a break when we need one. This is critical. There are seasons in your life when you are just tired or have little margin. There must be a freedom to take a break for a season. If not, when the person quits the ministry, they also quit your church because they feel they are out of options.
Church leaders, I know you appreciate and love your volunteers. We all know you could not get by without them. I trust this post will help you better connect with them and serve them in the way that you wish to.
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