Do you ever feel like there’s never enough time to train volunteers? With all the demands on your schedule to get this designed, or that edited, those printed or they’re slides finished, one of the most important, but often overlooked area, is great training for your volunteers.
Here are a few ways to reverse the “never enough time to train volunteers” mindset:
1. FOCUS ON TOTAL GROWTH
You’ve heard it said before that a team is only as effective as it’s weakest player, right? Well the same is true on your volunteer teams. But if we could foster an environment where our deepest concern is the growth of each of our volunteers, we’d make a massive first step in volunteer growth and training. Let your volunteers know that you want to surround them with resources, applications, insights and information that will help them grow. And don’t limit that to just helping them grow in ProPresenter because they need to learn how to edit slides faster. Help them grow in all areas of life. When a volunteer feels like you care about them growing, they’ll want to invest more into you and your ministry, because they see that they’re benefiting too!
2. AUTOMATE YOUR TRAINING
All training doesn’t have to be one-on-one while sitting in the worship center or at a coffee shop. But we keep trying to tell ourselves that. I have too many friends who have set way too lofty of expectations on themselves on how they’re going to pour into their volunteers on a one-on-one basis. That’s great if you can do that, but it’s simply not realistic with all the other deadlines.
Instead, what if you could harness the power of two simple tools to automate your training and maximize their effectiveness in ministry and in their daily lives? Through a membership to SALT University and a subscription to MailChimp, you could easily outline a year long training program, leveraging the incredible teachers and tools of an online learning platform, while never having to spend too much time customizing the process.
3. TRAIN WITH THE END IN MIND
I believe that all volunteer training can be summed up in great goal setting and effective team leadership. And both of those subjects are surrounded by how to lead with the end goal in mind. What is that end goal for you? You want your volunteers to be fully equipped in their area of service to be experts in their field, right? Maybe you can benefit from what I call the ABC’s of volunteer training.
Articulate Your Process
The first step in training is always starting with your process. Volunteers don’t have time to re-invent the wheel, so process is so crucial. When you can clearly articulate your process, you’ll be able to clearly set yourself as the leader, and they’ll always look to you when change happens, challenges arise, etc. But processes eliminate a lot of the requirement for a leader to hover over a volunteer and never let them feel ownership. The clearer the process, the better the chance of ownership.
Break Down Their Role
Second, it’s important for volunteers to understand the role they are serving in. If they’re running lyrics, you may simply tell them that they’re serving the entire body by providing freedom to sing during worship. Yes, this may seem like a daunting vision for someone who hits the space bar, but that’s imperative for volunteers. They can’t just see the fact that they’re clicking a button, but they need to see how that button is affecting the service, or is working with others. When people know their role, they can best be successful at becoming the master of that role.
Confirm Their Impact
Finally, make sure to confirm for them the impact they’re making in the kingdom. Without question, every volunteer signs up to feel like they’re being used by God to serve a kingdom purpose. And the truth of the matter is, every single volunteer is critical for life change, or you wouldn’t be using that volunteer. When you can confirm and edify the impact that they’re making, you deposit an investment into them that will reap incredible return over the next several years of their service.
4. Celebrate Their Service.
People remember and work toward the very thing that you celebrate and champion in an organization. So if you are wanting your volunteers to begin to accomplish basic organizational goals, then start to hold public celebrations for those volunteers that achieve those goals. On our team, when one of our team members hit their goals, we all celebrate that team member by getting ice cream, popsicles or fresh cookies from a bakery right around the corner. You’ll find it’s less about the $5 ice cream, and more about celebrating the growth and accomplishment one of your volunteer team members have been able to achieve.
I know there’s never enough time to train volunteers, but celebrating their service from time to time, will help break this cycle. Celebrating growth, puts a spotlight on what matters. And when you’re able t0 spotlight the correct things that matter in your weekly services, your process or your ministry, volunteers move from just sustaining to thriving in their roles.
In the end, we can break that “there’s never enough time to train” rhythm by simply putting value on the things that Volunteers value. If you haven’t ready Christine Kreischer’s book on Volunteer Recruitment, I’d highly recommend it! IF you purchase it on this site, you’ll get the digital copy along with the physical copy in your purchase (instead of having to purchase it twice).