Seeing Everyone You Lead As A Volunteer


A friend of mine recently made a comment that he wished all those under his ministry scope would see themselves as employees, not as volunteers.  I knew what he was driving at.  He simply wished that people would willingly follow his lead.  It would be so much easier if people would just salute and obey.  But today, more than ever, people see their time and their commitments as voluntary.  We have to see all those under our ministry scope as volunteers.  A volunteer is defined as a person who chooses willingly to offer their service.  People have multiple options these days as to where they will give their discretionary time.  Even paid employees can vote with their feet if they feel unfulfilled.  So how do you lead volunteers?

1. You must inspire them through a purposeful vision.  People want to aspire to do their best.  But you must inspire them by painting a compelling picture of a desirable future that elicits passion.  A clear and compelling vision will draw people to your leadership because they can see that what you are calling them to really matters.  Be sure that it does-matter.

2. You must solicit their commitment through active involvement.  If your vision does matter then you actually need people’s greatest creativity and best efforts.  You will get there by inviting them into the process of figuring out how your vision will be accomplished.  Commitment naturally flows from involvement.  Ask those around you to contribute in meaningful ways and you will get their heart and soul.

3. You must celebrate them along the way.  If you are chasing something God sized then you are in for some challenges.  There will be some dark moments and some dark days.  The greatest resource you have is dispensing hope to those you lead as they try and sustain the effort.  Celebrate the little milestones as well as the big ones.  Help people see progress.  Point them to Christ as their true source of hope and endurance.  Thank them for their specific efforts in time and by name.

If you will do these few things on a regular basis, you will get people’s best efforts and not just their grudging service.  It really isn’t much of a motivation to hold people to a contract.  But to take them on a journey that is worthy of their lives can make all the difference.

What would you add to my thinking?

One response to “Seeing Everyone You Lead As A Volunteer

  1. Pingback: Leadership Thought #308 – Leadership Is About Authenticity Not Technique « Ed Robinson's Blog

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