4 Important Keys to Leading Volunteers

Living A Lifestyle of Leadership

by KidMin Staff/ July 21, 2021

When leading volunteers, there are some things I believe will help build volunteers into a ministry team.

1. Be personal.

If you are going to build team and community, then it is vital that you work at being personal with your volunteers. I am sure some of you are thinking: Wait, it is impossible for me to have a personal relationship with all my volunteers. That could be true; however, you can raise up team leaders who have your heart and can help you personally touch even more volunteers. They can become a natural outflow of who you are and your desire to know and connect your volunteer teams to each other.  

When you are in the hallway, be personal. Look volunteers in the eye and thank them for their ministry. Encourage them often, and keep your vision for the ministry always in front of them. Purposefully have your eyes open to observe them doing things that you can commend them for. Every chance you get, publicly applaud the awesome things you are seeing your leaders do. The truth is, whatever you celebrate will be reproduced.  

2. Be flexible,

Although I believe in having high expectations and always reaching for excellence in all we do, we must remember our volunteer team members have busy lives too. It is vital that we recognize what they might be experiencing in their lives instead of focusing only on our needs or the needs of the children’s ministry.

I always remind myself and my team members that they are more important to me than what they do for me. I then do my best to prove it with my words, body language, and actions. I never want my team to feel guilty concerning needing time away. As a matter of fact, I make all my volunteers a promise. If the day ever comes when you feel the need to back away from our Kidmin team, I promise to celebrate all that you have done, and not to focus on what I wish you were going to continue to do.

Look for ways you can give your team members time off. I take the spiritual freshness of my team personally. I watch for signs that they could use some time away. It is my goal to keep them involved in children’s ministry leadership for the long haul. That means they need to be given breaks now and again. It is my goal for them to miss their ministry while they are on break and be excited about coming back.

3. Be someone they want to follow.

I always considered the volunteers on my team as my friends. You would never want to let your friends down. If you ever do, it would not be on purpose and you would quickly go to them and ask for forgiveness.

It is important to set the example, to be someone they can look up to both spiritually, and as a growing leader. However, just because we are the leader does not mean we never make mistakes. The key is to quickly recognize and admit when a mistake is made. Then go to those on your team who have been affected by the mistake, and ask for forgiveness. Friends are normally quick to forgive, especially if you have a proven track record and have invested personally into their lives.

4. Be a good communicator.

We know it is important that you keep your vision in front of your leaders. Challenge them with God’s Word, and with statistics and stories that touch their hearts and spur them toward greater things. However, it is difficult to make people feel like they are an important part of your ministry team when they never know what decisions have been made. It is important that they are “in the know” as much as possible when changes are being made—especially when you are considering making a change that will affect them or their ministry area. It is a good idea to ask your volunteers for their opinion before making such a decision. You may not always implement their advice, but if you decide to go in a direction other than their recommendation, explain to them why you made the decision, and why you believe it is the best course of action. Also, always inform your leadership concerning change before you address it from the stage.

Keep these four keys in mind when dealing with your volunteers and watch them grow into a healthy and strong ministry team.