Equipped For The Future
By Bob D’Ambrosio
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the church where I first served in ministry-fresh out of college. What an experience! I returned to a place where for 15 years my goal had been to equip volunteers to do ministry. I was honored to see some of the same ministry teams and systems still going strong. The time I’d invested in equipping volunteers had paid off. The long-term success of people in ministry demonstrates the need to establish the following components of equipping:
It’s human nature to think, “It’s quicker and easier if I do it myself.” Ultimately, though, it’s not. Provide solid training for every position and every task. When you guide volunteers to success, they experience the fruit of serving and the fulfillment of their purpose. Help your people to be successful in ministry by training them in the skills and knowledge they’ll need to achieve.
Affirmation acknowledges people for who they are. Knowing they’re loved and valued by you can make all the difference in the world. As you affirm people, you demonstrate that you value them for who they are as persons and as children of God. Most people rarely receive this kind of affirmation. It’s a precious gift that you, as a leader, can give to others.
Feedback is providing people with information that lets them know how they are doing in their ministry. Sincere, genuine feedback grows volunteers into leaders. A lack of feedback says, “There are no standards for this ministry.” Feedback needs to be delivered in sincere and truthful language. Authentic feedback helps people to grow by helping them to see a specific behavior in a new light, or by helping them to master a particular competency.
Effective evaluation is goal-centered. It measures the outcome of a team effort and reinforces the mission. Tina Leslie, membership ministry director at Bethel Harvest Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky, set goals with her leadership teams using a map: “We laid out a map on the table and determined that if we knew where we wanted to go we could get there,” says Leslie. Once you determine what to accomplish, you’ll know what to evaluate.
Appreciate people for what they do. Though people don’t volunteer to be recognized, lack of recognition is often why they don’t come back. Recognition appreciates the service and raises the value for serving. A church that fails to recognize the ministry of its people communicates that service and ministry are not important values of discipleship.
When a volunteer tries a new ministry, it’s important to examine whether it is a good match. Help volunteers reflect on what they learn about themselves while serving God to determine their ministry focus.
Investing up front in these components for equipping people for service will pay off in the long run. When your volunteers are well equipped, you lay a foundation for future success.
Bob D’Ambrosio serves as a volunteer leadership consultant with Church Volunteer Central after 25 years of experience in education, discipleship, and equipping ministry.
From www.ChurchVolunteerCentral.com. Web site. January 2010