Encouraging our volunteers can happen on a couple of different levels. Currently, I’m sharing on the interpersonal level…you know, the one that exists in every human on the planet, that level that includes the desire to be encouraged.
In addition to just knowing their name, our volunteers feel valued and honored when they know we care. Not too many things speak louder (other than knowing their name) than when we invest in our volunteers with time.
Time is precious. It’s what our volunteers give to ministries every time they say no to a project that’s been on the to-do list for months, or even years. It’s the same commodity we leaders are passionate about when we watch people sit on the sidelines, unengaged, claiming to have none to give. It would be to our advantage as Christ-following team leaders to give some of that back without expectations.
Giving time to our volunteers doesn’t happen unless it’s prioritized. I’ve discovered it’s a two-part process. First, leaders need to realize the value they add to their volunteers’ lives when giving them their time. Secondly, no excuses; just give it! I told you this blog was going to be slow pitch; didn’t burn that by anybody!
Look for opportunities to spend time with your volunteers. Arrive an hour early at the next service and expect to invest in a team member’s life. Ask questions and inquire about their families without any expectation of sharing about yourself. Follow through with your “asks.” Talk about each individual and give your undivided attention.
Identify a member of the team who’s leading socially and challenge them to take on some responsibility for team community (that event where conversations happen without looking at watches). See if they don’t love it, but I bet they will! Provide the setting for a team gathering and build into each person.
Making phone calls without “asks” is another place to start. If you’re like me, the “ask” used to be one of the only reasons I would call volunteers; what a poor leadership model. I’ve repented and have vowed to make more calls as a friend than as a “scheduler.” What about taking time every week for a sit down conversation with a valued team member? Tried that lately?
Because of my line of work, the paradox of intentional interventions without expectations is something I’ll forever be working toward.