I’ve made a lot of mistakes when it comes to leading volunteer teams. One of the main things I learned is that I had to bleed vision. I had to consistently and passionately share the the vision behind why we existed as a team, why we were doing things a certain way, why we had certain leadership roles, why serving mattered, and so on.
What is Vision?
Your vision is the goal, it’s the target that you’re after. It’s not “what” you’re doing (executing a worship service, for example), it’s the “why” behind what you’re doing (creating experiences where people meet Jesus and where believers are growing in their relationship with Him).
4 Things Volunteers ARE NOT compelled by:
1. A guilt trip.
4. Your lack of passion.
No one likes to be guilted into serving.
In their book, “Simply Strategic Volunteers: Empowering People for Ministry”, Tony Morgan and Tim Stevens, both pastors at Granger Community Church, wrote about not “asking for help”:
“We don’t need volunteers and we don’t ask for help because we’ve found that most people will not jump into a sinking ship. When you beg for volunteers, you might be admitting, ‘I have no compelling vision for this area of our ministry, and, therefore, no one willingly serves. So I’m going to try to guilt you into helping out.”
Volunteers don’t respond to “need” as much as they respond to vision.
They are compelled by your passion for the “why”.
Think about the Braveheart speech – you know the one – “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”. Now think about your church announcement time where Sister Myrtle comes to the podium to beg for more volunteers in the 3rd grade Sunday School class. People literally died with William Wallace. People were guilt tripped into serving with Sister Myrtle.I know these are extreme examples, but you get the picture – lead your team through casting compelling vision.
4 Things Volunteers ARE compelled by:
These four traits to vision casting come from Ronnie Floyd who is the current President of Southern Baptist Convention. (You can read his full article here.) I’ve added my own commentary.
1. A clear vision.
Your volunteers must know clearly what the vision (your “why”) of your team is. My vision for our production team at Newspring Church was that we were ‘creating experiences where people met Jesus and took their next step with Him’. It was simple and clear. I definitely could have spent more time ingraining this into people, but this was it.
I would start sharing this vision with potential volunteers that were considering joining our team. I would ask a group of potential volunteers that toured our Production Room, “Who in this group accepted Christ at one of our services? Who in this group has grown in their relationship with Christ by attending a worship service at our church?” – my response after every hand went up was, “That’s what we do in this room. Through God working in us, we create those experiences. We create experiences where life change happens. Where the God of the universe moves and changes hearts and lives.You don’t need to know anything about technology or production to serve on our team. Would you like to join us?” Notice I didn’t say, “If you are a behind the scenes person, if you’re introverted and don’t like to talk to people, if you’re a nerd that doesn’t like to be seen by people, if you like to wake up at 5am on Sundays and spend 6 hours rehearsing and executing worship services… this is the team for you!” Cast compelling vision and people will follow you.
2. A concrete vision.
Have a vision that is real and tangible. Make it something obtainable and measurable. For instance, with my vision for our team: “Our team exists to create experiences where people meet Jesus and take their next step with Him”, I could literally take volunteers to our care room on Sunday and have them watch people who responded to our invitation. I could show them people having conversations with our staff and care team volunteers. We would stand at the door or in the back of the room and I would tell them, “This is the result of you serving. You running ProPresenter is so much bigger than pushing a button, your role is a part of creating an experience where this life change happens. People in this room are accepting Jesus, their marriage is being restored, they are being set free. People are meeting Jesus. People lives are being changed by how you are serving.”
We would also celebrate numbers. We celebrated how many salvations we saw ever Sunday. We celebrated the number of care conversations our campus saw. We celebrated the number of baptisms, the number of people that signed up for counseling, financial freedom classes, and more. Why? Because we believed that every number had a name, every name had a story, and every story mattered to God.
Our team vision was real and tangible. We could measure it and celebrate the results that God in His kindness allowed us to witness.
3. A concise vision.
Less is more. Let your vision be simple and brief. Don’t use big words or elegant language. Simple. Also, don’t be rigid on people memorizing a Vision Statement. I didn’t care if people had the sentence burned in their memory with the exact words in the right place. I wanted our team to be able to tell others that our team was all about people meeting Jesus and taking next steps with Him. That’s it. That’s what we wanted to see- salvation and spiritual growth. As long as someone on our team could convey that idea to someone else with passion, I was happy. Be simple and concise.
4. A compelling vision.
If your vision is compelling, you will not only move hearts, you will move people to action. Go after the heart. You don’t have to know all the answers, in fact, its better that you don’t – it shows that you’re humble and vulnerable. Be genuine, speak from the heart. It’s amazing how perceptive and discerning people are. They can see through it if you don’t believe it. Let your words and your actions show the passion you have for your ministry.
When you cast vision for your team, remember to focus on the “why”.
-you don’t need a ProPresenter operator, you have an opportunity for someone to help lead worship in the experience you’re creating together…
-you don’t need a Camera Operator, you have an opportunity for someone to use their gifts to help others experience worship and a message from God’s Word in a personal and profound way…
You can do this!
How have you casted vision to your team that’s made a significant impact?