The Gift of Affirmation as Encouragement Part 2

Posted: October 11, 2010 in Encouragement, Leadership, Team

My apologies to you who’ve been looking for a new post for the last few weeks.  I warned you when I started this thing that developing a discipline for new projects such as this could be a problem. I’m going to get better.

Affirming the Ministry

My contention is that leaders can encourage volunteers month after month, year after year, speaking into them the encouragement they deserve but fall short of their call. Leaders can consistently offer thanks for the time and energy volunteers selflessly give but, still, fall short. Leaders can effortlessly connect team members in relationships and nurturing friendships for growth and, yet, overlook a key element of leading our teams.

Affirming the value of individuals is critical but if our team members are not convinced that what they’re doing is making a difference, it will leave them less than fulfilled.

Here’s the problem: If we’re not consistently communicating the importance of the ministries we lead, it just becomes another “thing to do.” What is generally perceived as a good thing will lose impact, momentum and, eventually, importance. Efforts will fall away from the mission-critical status. The life-changing potential every opportunity to serve has the capacity to become will deflate if there is little emphasis on the difference it will make.

Do our teammates know that they’re making a difference every time they put on the tag or wear the shirt. Do our volunteers understand the ministry impact when they place the cones, plan the lesson or mix the drink (assuming you have a café-insert smiley face)? Are they convinced that when they block out the weekend, there’s a real possibility that they’ll make an immediate or future impact on an individual’s life for eternity? How’s that getting communicated? How often is ‘we’re-on-a-mission-from-God’ mentality breaking through to our volunteers? More importantly, is that impact becoming internalized by every member of our teams?

If you lead, championing others toward a great cause is a big part of your calling. Who else will keep the flame alive? We’ve all heard the metaphor that “vision leaks.” It’s the responsibility of every leader to keep the cup full. Think of it this way: Affirmation of the person is critical. Affirming the value of the ministry is “person’s” first cousin.

  1. Ruth says:

    Ah…this is very good. Thanks for reminding me to remind my awesome volunteers the impact they are making in people’s life. That is going to be my goal this month to affirm my team members more. They are making a difference!

  2. dblacketor says:

    Great question. What is mission critical? Can a ministry’s value change over time? Do ministries become “little g” idols? How do we evaluate the effectiveness or even need of an existing ministry? Can a ministry that was once a sail for the kingdom of God become a sea anchor?

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