Caring For Your Volunteers: Value

Kim Porter December 19, 2015
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Some time ago, I heard a worship leader recount a confrontation that he had with a team member who was serving in his music ministry. He said that the volunteer, who played bass in the band, would routinely show up late or, at times, not show up at all. The worship leader decided he needed to have a conversation with him and perhaps gently let him go from his obligation to the team.

As they sat down, the first thing the worship leader relayed to the young musician was why he was an important part of the team. When he showed up late, or didn’t show up at all, the entire team suffered. They depended on him to be a part of what made the dynamic of the band not only function, but succeed. He sat in silence for a minute or so, soaking in the words he had just heard, and finally spoke.

“I had no idea that I was valuable to the team. I didn’t know that I mattered.”

A conversation meant to confront and ultimately ask this team member to step down, turned instantly around. The worship leader encouraged him and, in turn, saw a repentant heart and change of attitude.

It’s easy to take people in our ministries for granted when we serve with them week after week. Even when we do simple things, such as bringing in donuts on a Sunday or passing out Christmas cards, we are drawing attention to the fact that our team members matter.

If asked though, most people would say that our words of encouragement mean much more to them then a gift card or cookie. When we take note of what our team members are doing and let them know they make a difference, we are confirming their value to the overall dynamic of our ministries.

Here are a few reasons why valuing individuals is so important:

1. They Will Want to Do Their Best

In a study based on over 1700 employees, a survey found that ”more than 90 percent of workers who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work…” (Read the full article here.) No one wants to think that his or her sacrifice of time and preparation isn’t important. If you want your ministry to run smoother and your volunteers to put forward their best effort, let them know that their work counts.

2. They Buy into the Vision

Team members need to know they are playing an important role in the overall vision of our church. They are not just changing light settings or passing out programs, they are creating a warm environment that helps people feel welcomed and accepted. When they run the slides for the songs, they are allowing people to participate in the music. Without their efforts, the vision of the team falls short. When we tell people why they are valuable to the vision of our ministries, they will want to keep it going!

3. They Get Others Onboard

What’s the best way to grow your ministry team? You grow through your volunteers. Valued people who have bought into a vision will want others to join them! Pleas for help and announcements in the bulletin won’t bring in volunteers the way that passionate team members will.

Bringing value to our team begins with the simple act of letting individuals know they matter. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t even have to take lots of time, it just needs to be authentic. It can take all different forms, but ultimately we want each person in our ministry to know what they do makes a difference, is incredibly important and is helping the vision God has given to our church continue to thrive.

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Kim Porter

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