Value people. That certainly seems like a critical strategy for an equipping leader! Valuing people means that I see each of the volunteers on my team as a child of the Most High God, not as a tool in my toolbox or an extension of myself. It means I identify the uniqueness of people. The question, then, is How do I value people… in particular, my team?
Ministry is often hard work. For those who hold down a job in the marketplace while tending to a family, ministry requires a significant sacrifice of limited time and energy. Volunteer ministers can easily burn out, especially when their sacrifice isn’t acknowledged. Energizing my team through affirmation can help them see the benefits of their efforts, both for themselves and for those they serve. A sincere, specific affirmation can provide a much-needed injection of energy and motivation.
Another key strategy for valuing people is to prepare people for ministry. This should always include training at the beginning of their ministry, as well as continuing opportunities for growth. Service is a critical component of spiritual formation, which is always an ongoing process! Utilize available resources to equip your people. These might include
- sharing books/materials that you have found helpful in your own ministry
- inviting a guest speaker with a fresh perspective to your next ministry team meeting
- taking a field trip to a local church or ministry that might be a helpful model for your ministry
- taking your team to a conference
Any and all of these things can help mobilize your people for the ministry to which they’ve been called.
I have found another key to valuing people is to talk openly. Debriefing ministry events, honest evaluations, and sharing what’s going on behind the scenes and in other ministry areas are all ways in which we encourage open communication and candid dialogue.
Give recognition to each team member, to each volunteer. Nothing values a person more than to recognize the gifts and graces they bring to the ministry! Be aware of those who will be embarrassed by public recognition and find ways to acknowledge them privately. Recognizing their contribution within the context of the team is another way to avoid embarrassment. A few years ago, we wanted to recognize one of our older volunteers who faithfully showed up each Monday morning to clean the church kitchen. She would scrub and polish until the kitchen shined! As with so many behind-the-scenes volunteer ministers, Ms. Wilma didn’t want to be singled out for her contribution, so we included her in a group of volunteers who represented faithful service in various ministries and honored them all at once!
There are some guidelines for valuing your team. Next up: developing and growing…You!