5 Simple Ways to Create a Culture of Connectedness in Kidmin

How-tos for Connecting with Volunteer Leaders

by Mark Entzminger/ September 30, 2016

An ounce of encouragement can propel a weary volunteer for several weeks or months. But finding time to create a culture where you connect with leaders individually can be difficult—especially since you may not see some leaders due to the responsibilities you carry.

But what if there were some simple solutions that would help you create this culture of connectedness? Consider the following ideas that I have seen at work in our office and around the nation. You can begin implementing these almost immediately.

  1. “Speak Life” board: An ounce of encouragement can power a weary volunteer to continue on. A “Speak Life” board is a simple idea that invites leaders, parents, and children to write notes of encouragement to volunteers and post them publicly for all to see. As the leader, you may need to get this started by populating it on your own, but after the notes start rolling in, you may be surprised how often people are contributing notes about others. [picture of our board]
  2. Recognition events: Plan for an annual recognition event that allows you as the leader to share stories about different individuals’ contributions over the year. We have done these in the past, themed like the Oscars. Each participant received a paper cut-out of the trophy, and we enjoyed finger-food. The setup was simple, budget impact was low, and it was a great moment of connecting.
  3. Service awards: Acknowledging leaders who have passed milestones can encourage others to continue on to the next benchmark. Consider celebrating people who have completed their first year, attended their first camp, or led a ministry for a full season. Additionally, by creating benchmark celebrations, you can recognize people for 5, 10, and 15 years of uninterrupted service. My friend Justyn Smith has used pins to award people who stayed on board during a building program or have invested extra time to help through a campaign. A coworker of mine uses digital badges and pancake breakfasts for people who achieve specific goals. Be creative, find something that fits—but remember that everyone likes to know what they are aiming for and be recognized when they hit it.
  4. “Yay, God” moments: When on staff at a local church, we would often pause at the conclusion of a day of outreach or after an event of significance to celebrate what God had done. We called these “Yay, God” times. It was an open floor, and people would share short statements with the group (1 or 2 sentences) about what they had seen God do. At the conclusion of their report, we would all together say “Yay, God” and do a single hand clap. This simple way helps everyone participate in what God did, even if they happened to miss that specific element because they were serving somewhere else.
  5. Sharing the credit for the win: It may be easier to share credit for the win whenever other contributors are around. But it can become more impactful if you do it when they are not around. Finding ways to pass along credit for a job well done, even when the people are not present to hear the accolades, will help create the culture of connectedness you are looking for.

At the end of the day, a tightly connected and healthy team is critical for ministry. Make the culture of connectedness something of high importance for you and your team.

I hope these ideas will help you create a culture on your team that continues to engage others in life-giving ministry.