In this episode of the Creative Team Stuff podcast, we tackle principles and strategy related to equipping people and structuring a healthy volunteer team. The discussion covers a wide range within this topic, and we hope it’s helpful. You can listen to the audio above, or by subscribing to our iTunes podcast.
A brief summary of the conversation is below:
We don’t have this figured out!
Before we even dive in, please know that we are learning as we discuss through this. How we lead, structure, and develop teams is a constantly moving target. One thing we do know though; this is an opportunity for us to equip, empower, and release people to serve with the gifts God has given them. As leaders, for us it has to be about the people. We can’t just systematize this and view volunteers as just a means to an end. Our greatest achievement will be in the investing and training up of others that can go and do more of the work of ministry, and for the younger ones, become the next generation that will carry on the work.
The point is people!
Part of our responsibility is in structuring a team that can get stuff done. For sure we need to be effective and efficient in what we do. But, we also need to be identifying leaders who we can more intentionally invest in so that they can invest in others.
If our team isn’t effective, we shouldn’t as a first step try and clamp down or train more. Our first step should be to ask the question “am I investing properly in order to ensure success?”
We have to align people with how they are gifted. An honest, open dialogue with people about how we see them fitting into the body is important for us to have the guts to have.
The tension between quality and giving someone a chance can’t be answered with either/or.
We can’t determine that, because someone isn’t trained up yet that they can’t have a shot. But we also can’t be throwing people in before they are ready. Dismissing people based on their skill level today robs your team of potential later. But you don’t want to put people in a place for failure.
You can’t wait until the need arises to start thinking about team development.
The process of developing, maturing, and understanding gifting is a long-term process. As leaders, we need to have an eye for identifying potential early and having the patience to develop that potential over the long-haul. If we set the bar so high that no one can enter unless they have been trained elsewhere, we’ll have slim pickings when it comes time to fill a need. Remember, we were developed too! We weren’t competent right out of the gate. Someone, somewhere gave us the chance to learn and grow.
Community is important. Prioritize relationships
Part of investing in your team is in prioritizing relationships. Build in times to get to know people who are serving. It’s near impossible to help them discover how they are gifted if you don’t even know them! For more seasoned volunteers, part of the relational process is in guiding them through the journey from arriving at competency to shifting focus toward investing in others.
- Be patient
- Plant in their heart the passion for ministry. Remind them often why they serve and who they serve (Christ).
- Have long-term views on team development
- Be relational