I’ve realized in my ministry, the most important people I serve are my volunteers. It’s because of them that our ministry can reach students with lots of different interests and personalities.
When I first started out in ministry I had about 12 leaders. It was easy to get to know them. We would go out for coffee or a bite to eat. I had plenty of time (I wasn’t married). And there weren’t a lot of them. Unfortunately a lot has changed in eight years. Now with dozens of volunteers, a family and so much more to do, I know I have to be intentional and creative when it comes to investing in my team.
Regardless of whether you have one volunteer or 100, the idea of investing in your team can be overwhelming.
But it doesn’t have to be. Like any task, investing in your volunteers starts with a commitment to start, and grows by a commitment to build on what you’ve started. This building is what I call “upping” your investment. This is the goal: to grow your investment in your volunteers in order that they have ownership in your ministry, and so that they are effectively leading students in spiritual growth.
So what does this investment look like? In order to “up” your investment and serve your leaders effectively remember to:
Do For One What You Can’t For All
You might feel like you have to treat everyone equally. However, that’s impossible. Some might use that as a reason not to invest in their leaders. But then how do you show them you care? God is going to give you opportunities to invest, in significant ways, towards individuals. When you give to all it can come off obligatory. When you have to choose one or two, it becomes intentional.
Put In Sweat Equity
It’s easy to buy a gift for someone, but there will be situations when you need to take the time and energy to do something personal. Showing your volunteers that you are willing to sacrifice and energy for them will go a long way. It shows them that you appreciate the sacrifice of time and energy they show you.
Challenge Them To Invest In Others
Give your key volunteers gift cards or cash to use on people around them. This does two things:
1.Gives them leadership responsibility.
2.Gives them authority to identify future leaders.
Even as a leader you are still limited in identifying potential in everyone in your ministry. In fact one of the best ways to build your volunteer base and leadership core is to have the existing team members extend the invitation. Just empower them with a piece of your investment.
If you invest correctly in your team you’ll see the benefits multiply. It takes a little creative thinking and energy to make it personal, special and most important intentional.
How do you invest in your team?
(Originally published in 2013)