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Creating a Healthy Volunteer Environment -Part 2

Earlier we talked about what an unhealthy volunteer looks like. It’s not as easy as just firing all those who bring a spirit of unhealthiness to our ministries or arena’s; but I can begin to change the environment that all my volunteer exist within.

I present my Top 6 things to Never do or say to a Volunteer.

1. Never ask a Volunteer to help “YOU.”

  • Ask them to help the church, or help in a classroom. Don t make it a personal favor to you. Personal favors won’t stand up over the test of time.

2. Never thank a volunteer for helping YOU.

  • Remind them of your overall vision and purpose when saying Thank You.
  • “Thank you for helping us reach all these kids this morning. You ve been a great help to all of us! vs. Thanks for helping me out. I don t know what I would have done without you!
  • And… the church name should be prominently displayed on any thank you correspondence. Make it about the Church or organization, not me!

3. Don t ask the same volunteer to do the same thing over and over.

  • Don t abuse the willingness of one person to ALWAYS help when needed. Mix it up!

4. Don’t praise volunteers as a guise for criticizing other volunteers.

  • There shouldn’t be any teacher s pets. We all have our favorites, but make sure to no alienate any one person, just so you can praise another. (Or take one volunteer out to lunch, without investing in all of them equally.)
    (Refer to Point 2 for a how-to.)

5. Never show displeasure with church leadership to Volunteers.

  • Teach the Power of Buy-In! Representing our leader s choices as our very own. This shows our volunteers that we are a strong team, and are working together for a common goal.
  • Even if it is someone else s fault, make it our fault. If everyone would do this, then rumors and displeasure with leadership would be stopped early and often! (Of course there are some sins that cannot be covered by us and in those exceptions just refer to those above us in leadership.)

6. Never ask “How did it go today?”

  • How did it go today? is a dangerous question. It will provoke answers about classroom behavior and numbers.
  • Asking about numbers and behavior makes it all about the teacher (You’re basically asking if they had an okay time and were able to manage); asking about the spiritual growth redirects it to the kids.
  • Instead ask specific questions like, Did the kids remember the main point today? or Did they understand how the craft related to the main point or Do you feel that the kids seemed to ‘get it today or the greatest question of all Did you pray with any kids to accept Jesus this morning?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.

1 Comment

  1. Larry Shallenberer · May 27, 2009

    Excellent Post, Jonathan!

    Larry Shallenberer ´s last blog post..Donate to the Mentoring Project and Get a Father s Day Gift