Don’t Leave Your Volunteers Hangin’

(continued - For my next few posts I will be borrowing some wisdom from my idol in the retail/restaurant world, Jim Sullivan.)

In this world of fast pace, it is becoming increasingly difficult to have weekly meetings at odd times during the week with your volunteer teams as often as you may like to. With the new world of social networking, many have turned to team communications over facebook, twitter, email, etc.

It is probably wise to complement these communication strategies with “pre-serve meetings”. In the retail world, these are referred to as pre-shift meetings, alley rallies, jump starts, and pep ups. Quick 2-5 minute gatherings/conversations you or your ministry leaders have with volunteers minutes before they serve. The goals - communicate, encourage and empower them. Some tips:

· Make a plan, don’t fake a plan – Know which teams or individual you want to talk to and why you want to talk to them.

o Do your ushers need clarity on a new initiative, does your café have a new beverage volunteers need trained on, does your nursery team need encouraged?

o Have specific thoughts. One Meeting = One Issue. Don’t try to cover too many issues. Pick the pressing need and run with it. Save something for the following week.

· Keep it positive – Pre-serve meetings are to jazz up, pump up and motivate those you do ministry with to give it their all. Sell the new initiatives you are communicating to them and empower them to do what they do well.

· Teach your volunteers something new every Sunday – remember that you want your teams to leave after serving feeling more confident in their abilities and blessed to be serving with you.

· K.I.S.S. – Keep it short and sweet – Instead of meetings, maybe they should be called moments.

The higher the frequency of these “pre-serve moments” the better the communication will be on your team and the more valued your volunteers will feel. As Jim says, “Exchanging knowledge and sharing common goals with your team members daily makes them better. The better they are, the better the experience they create for their customers.”

Translated to Ministry

Exchanging knowledge, encouraging and sharing common goals with your ministry leaders and volunteer core on the day they serve makes them better. The better they are and the more valued they feel, the better you have helped to eliminate any distractions connecting guests with Christ.

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