Empowering Volunteer Staff: When to Get Out of the Way so More Ministry Can Happen
By: Ken Schmidtke
Adam grew up in Campus Life; as a 6th grader his interaction every week at club was more of a forced response to keep his Grandma and mom off his back. Yet as he got involved from week to week his involvement became his pleasure. He was a natural leader and as he was promoted to subsequent grades he became a student leader and then a high school volunteer. As God was transforming his heart he was also maturing as a leader. He naturally wanted to do more. Now as a college freshman, he is championing a ministry site with a team of volunteers. He leads by example and pours into his team and student leaders as he has been empowered.
Adam is one of those guys who has natural leadership gifting and strengths. He is one that his peers look up to and seek out. He has made the time to be a leader and has willingly made himself available to serve. He is a “go to” guy and as a result has increased ministry! This process of developing Adam was also a learning curve for me.
IDENTIFY THE APPROPRIATE PERSON – Not every volunteer wants or is qualified to do every task and role in Campus Life. I am a firm adherent, however, of the idea that every volunteer CAN DO everything that I do as a leader Campus Life ministry. I give volunteers new opportunities to grow in their role; letting leaders move from participating in crowd-breakers, to leading a leader who like background roles only, to leading the discussion or sharing the wrap-up. As I give leaders new opportunities to serve I observe and ask about their experience and work with them to develop the new skills. As a leader grows and excels in new ministry actions, I give them more freedom to move forward.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENCOURAGEMENT – As leaders are trained in the skills of ministry actions, I collaborate with them in ministry goals that they own. It is a process of give and take: opening doors to new opportunities, discovering their gifting and celebrating their victories.
CAGE THE EGO – It is easy to let personal ego get in the way of effective growth in others. We can undermine the increase in ministry by our own attitude and subsequently sabotage the process. Our leaders can and should increase the ministry far beyond what we can do; and that is exactly what we want!
Adam is now spearheading a ministry with a team that he is developing. He is on the campus 3 times a week; helping out at lunch, volunteering in the office, leading a small group of 8th grade boys that was instigated by the school counselor. He has been given access to the school that is far greater than what I was given! Adam has taken the charge. It has been a process of give and take, failure and success. I have given him the foundation and now I can step back to allow him to have greater ownership of his ministry as I continue to provide accountability and support.