Changing the Culture of Volunteerism-with a Word

Posted: July 12, 2010 in Leadership, Team
Tags: ,

Can the choice of a single word change an entire ministry concept? That’s the question I’ve been asking. Recently, I gathered about 15 volunteer leaders to get a fresh perspective from volunteers who’ve been involved in ministry at GCC for many years. I wanted to hear their stories and find out what keeps them motivated to give hundreds of hours every year. I was seeking to hear their concerns and generate ideas about serving. It was a great couple of hours with a bunch of takeaways.

If admission to the event would have been charged, the following comment would have been worth the price of attending. The evening was winding down and the conversation focused on the commitment of volunteers when Colleen Sweeney – an expert in the field of volunteerism – suggested this: “What if we teach them that they’re ambassadors?” My first thought was, “I don’t think I can spell that,” (spell check confirmed that) followed by, “That’s brilliant!”

After a couple of weeks of processing, I think the concept behind the suggestion is that we have to cast better vision about our ministries. As leaders, are we building a mindset where our team members are convinced that what they give their most valuable asset to is making a difference in the world? Do they believe – even as Jake Elroy did – that they’re on a “Mission from God?” Have they internalized that an entire team, or maybe even that the eternity of a soul, is relying on whether or not a particular ministry team is functioning at 100%.

I’m not sure where we’ll land on this Ambassador idea, but I do know that casting a clear and compelling vision for our ministry teams is our first step. Before we can keep people long enough to build effective systems of care and connection into our teams, we must transfer our own belief that what we’re doing is really making a difference. If you can’t say that about your team, send them on over!

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Eph. 4: 11-12
  1. Chelle says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Excited for you on this new venture. 🙂

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