Archive for the ‘Granger Community Church’ Category

In a previous post, I pointed to a couple of GCC staff leaders who’ve outlined two of the most successful tools to build volunteer teams in the church today.  These inviting strategies, if implemented, will always be the two most effective, long-term solutions to maintaining volunteer involvement that currently exists.

I want to turn a page and speak of a corporate tool that has the capacity to engage a bunch of people all at once. Let’s assume that you’re working hard at the care and connection infrastructure that needs to be in place. Remember, without all of that in the equation, you’ll never – I repeat, never – have teams that will ultimately be considered strong.

Several years ago I was approached by a fellow staffer about an idea to invite others to explore ministry opportunities in the church. Shelly Arredondo revealed a brilliant concept that our team now calls VolunTOUR. It took me about 15 seconds to realize that this had the potential to be one of the great tools for inviting others to investigate ministry offerings. Under the leadership of Tammy Michael, we’ve placed hundreds of volunteers in ministries where they continue to serve and grow.

About once a quarter a team of four tour guides will be strategically stationed at the back of the auditorium with signage that simply reads “VolunTOUR.”  Our guests have been introduced to the tour during announcements in previous week messages or online via our web site. Guides are equipped with clipboards for everyone who takes the tour and attached, are these documents for the 25 minutes we’ll have to share with our guests. The first couple of minutes are the formalities where we share what it means to be on mission, on a team that’s making a difference.

Let the tour begin: Each guide takes their separate route through the building, stopping at four or five low traffic areas to explain multiple opportunities of interest. Our guides, equipped with a ringed “cheat guide” talk through (really fast) about 60 possible ministries within our six “big buckets.” Guests are asked to make notations on up to three possible interests. Questions can be answered and conversations had during the walk as our guests explore first-hand what opportunities are available to them.

At the end of the VolunTOUR, guests are asked to turn in one of the two sheets that have their contact information with up to three ministries they would like to be contacted about. The information is then tabulated the following Monday and dispersed to ministry department representatives who have agreed to contact our guests within 72 hours. At the time of this contact, ministry specific questions are answered and opportunities for a next-step meeting, training or paperwork (if required) are offered. That’s the short-details to follow this week.


After nine months in my “new” position as Director of Volunteer Involvement at GCC, I’m convinced more than ever of the effectiveness of two key teachings that have been around our church for many years. Maybe you haven’t heard of them or, possibly, you have but weren’t aware of the implications as to how they could rock your ministry.

I’m referring to the “Shoulder Tap” and the “90-Second Ask.” Before you shut down and think, “I’ve heard this teaching before,” I’m asking you to consider examining each of these with a renewed passion. They are truly the most effective ways we can invite our circle of friends into life-changing environments.

Each approach has been well documented by two of our lead pastors, Tim Stevens and Mark Waltz. I’ve included a full explanation of each in two documents that can be read here and here.  Each document is two pages long and, while I encourage you to read them both, you can continue reading here for the Reader’s Digest version.

The “Shoulder Tap” simply acknowledges the fact that our friends and acquaintances – inside or outside the church – are more likely to make a decision to cross the line and become “involved” because that invitation has come from someone they know. What our friends don’t realize is that we’re inviting them into a community that is not only about serving, but also about being part of a team. More importantly, you’re inviting them into an experience where all of the benefits described in the previous 10 posts are lived out.

“The 90-Second Ask” acknowledges three steps of simple teaching that every ministry leader and team member can apply. The first step tells us to affirm what we see in your friends – and who doesn’t want to be affirmed! The second step involves opening the door to honestly state, “Because of the way I see you (friend’s name), I think you’d be in your element volunteering in (volunteer hot spot).” The third step cements “the ask”; now you get to tell your own story on how volunteering in an area of your giftedness has made an impact on your life. We all have stories of how our life is better because of our ministry and the relationships we’ve built through them. Maybe it’s the encouragement or acknowledgement from others – the point is, share it! It brings you encouragement while encouraging others.

Again, these documents are 5 minute reads and have the potential to not only change your teams, but to make an impact on the life of someone who’s yet to realize two key elements of every team: Your friend can make a positive impact on another as they decide to give of themselves AND at the same time, begin to have people build into them the very things I pray you’ve experienced as a team member.

Do you ever just drive through the campus here at GCC and wonder how 18 acres  of campus always manages to look so green? Could it be that God looks down on the campus with favor and sends an isolated rain shower at just the appropriate time? Or more realistically you’ve thought it’s just another paid staff member managing the 1,670 sprinkler heads.

I’m about to expose to you a Volunteer Rock Star who ‘s been around our campus since 2000.  He’s not only “been around” but he’s been actively involved in a couple different departments for a decade. For the last seven years, Greg Koczan’s been serving on the Facility Care/Grounds team, managing the miles and miles of sprinkler lines that keep this place “attractional”. Depending on the week, you’ll see him here anywhere from five to twenty hours a week. Isn’t that amazing! What a gift, what a heart.

Have you ever had trouble keeping your three zones working at home? I do…and Greg’s the guy I pay to fix them too. Greg assures that the 100 zones on our campus are leak free and timed with efficiency and regularity.  He “walks the line” every month to assure “all systems are go”. He blows them out in the fall and turns them on in the spring and everything in between.  What a blessing.

Maybe you’re thinking he then travels to Florida for a few months of R&R. Nope-not Greg. He then volunteers on a team that keeps the 11,000 running feet of sidewalk clear from that white stuff.  Not only the sidewalks, he helps the Winter Grounds team to keep the parking lots clear-helping to save the church thousands and thousands of dollars in a year. Now there’s a great ministry opportunity!

If you see this guy, honk at him and wave.  Chances are pretty good he’ll not notice you because of the focus and attention he gives his ministry….but honk and wave anyway!  Thank you Greg for a behind the scenes ministry that attracts people to the campus so they can hear about Christ.  Its drawn more people than you might think. You’re a blessing to your church-a Rock Star serving beyond the call of duty so that others can meet the Christ.

In Part two of this series, I want to share the foundation of the volunteer ministry as it relates to our staff team. Because everything revolves around vision, we started there. Our goal was to have that clear and compelling statement when it came to building on the two underlying principles that follow.  Here’s the vision:

“As leaders, we will unashamedly communicate the value of – and offer structured opportunities for – volunteerism. We’ll communicate the value that volunteerism brings to our ministries as members give of themselves, based on their SHAPE, to advance Kingdom goals.  And, equally important, we will communicate the significance a team can add to individuals as they move into community where principles for developing healthy teams are functioning at their best.”

In order for volunteerism to be successful, we’ve landed on these two big buckets. First, we’ve got to have:

A Strategic plan of Connection

Where ministry on-ramps are visible, easily accessible, inclusive and offered frequently; where descriptions and expectations are clearly defined and wins are communicated and celebrated often.”

Second, we need people to tell their story. Without this, we’ll never accomplish what ultimately will become the engine for our ministries. To make this happen, we need:

Intentional Team Development

“Where volunteers are led by leaders and staff who will ensure individuals are encouraged and cared for, and who will build a sense of community in the team members and communicate the significance of the ministry.”

There are 3,210 ways to accomplish these big bucket things. OK, I made that number up! But there are a number of things our teams have been successful at and many others that we’ll begin to pursue globally in the coming months. I look forward to sharing those ideas with you in future posts.

It was a distinct honor this week to share some of the values that my boss, Mark Waltz, and I are determined to place at the very core of how our staff should invest in volunteers. This might not be, as I told our staff team, “a new revelation” to anyone but more a review of principles that our Lead Team has built into the DNA of who we are as a staff. These are principles we’re determined to build into our team development.

My premise is that every successful ministry is ultimately dependant upon the strength of our volunteer teams. By strength, this is what I said:

“The strength of our ministry teams, ultimately, is dependent upon the value of the individual that we make evident to our volunteers as opposed to number of volunteers serving. If it’s perceived any other way by our volunteers, we’ll eventually be stuck within a cycle that looks like a revolving door of unsatisfied partners in ministry.”

I contended that ministry is at the heart of the Christian life. In order for our ministries to draw individuals and for our volunteers to flourish, we should esteem those individuals as valuable and provide attractive opportunities for them to move into caring communities.

The kind of attraction I’m talking about does more than just add ministry value as individuals give of their time for the cause of advancing the Kingdom. It’s an attraction where there is an irresistible draw to be part of a team that embraces the most basic of human yearnings – that which encourages, cares for, affirms value to and fosters spiritual friendships.

We believe at GCC that our staff objective is to mobilize and equip a community of ministry partners who are maximizing their gifts in a meaningful place of service. Here’s the catch though: “We can continue to equip and mobilize by the hundreds, but without intentional steps to strengthen (remember the definition) our teams will fall short of what God has called us to.”

How’s your staff doing? Are they flourishing or falling short?