This is a fantastic article, originally posted at pastors.com here, written by Brian K. Dodd. I think every pastor needs to hear and internalize this.
What are the volunteers serving in your church thinking? What are their hopes, dreams, and needs? During the last 26 years, I have had to privilege of serving on two church staffs but the vast majority of my time has been as a volunteer.
To assist pastors and church leaders in better connecting with those who have made the strategic choice to leverage their marginal time and talent to serve others, the following are 10 Things Volunteers Wished Their Pastor Knew About Them.
- We desperately want to make a difference with our one and only life. Everyone wants to live a life of significance. We have decided the best place for that to take place is our local church.
- Our time is valuable so be organized and tell us what to do. We live very busy lives. When we show up to serve, please have us something important to do and be well-organized.
- We want to serve in context of community. People begin serving at a church for two reasons. First, to do something significant. Second, we are looking for friends. Pastors and church leaders need to always build a time of community into every volunteer effort.
- Our opinion matters. We make important organizational decisions in the marketplace every day of our lives. We build teams and leverage resources. We are also at Ground Zero in regard to what is happening at the church. Smart pastors seek out and value our thoughts and insights. Don’t marginalize us.
- We want influence, not position. It is a common misconception that if you give someone a title, it will please them. Titles are not bad things but they fail in comparison to influence.
- We want our efforts to be an integral part of making the church’s vision a reality. Volunteers want to know what they are doing makes a difference in the overall scheme of things and is not just a busy task.
- We want to grow spiritually. The core desire of our hearts is to be connected with the heart of God.
- All we want is for someone to say “Thank you. You made a difference today.” Everyone wants to be told they are pretty. A simple expression of genuine thanks deepens the relationship with the church and inspires our continued efforts.
- We want you to ask us to serve. The #1 reason a person joins a cause or team is because someone asks them. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of qualified volunteers at your church who would love to serve if someone would just ask them.
- We want the freedom to take a break when we need one. This is critical. There are seasons in your life when you are just tired or have little margin. There must be a freedom to take a break for a season. If not, when a volunteer leaves a ministry position, they often leave the church as well because they feel they have no other options.
Pastors and church leaders, I know you appreciate and love your volunteers. We all know you could not get by without them. I trust this post will help you better connect with them and serve them in the way that you wish to.