LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Changing the Culture

In Simply Strategic Volunteers, I talked about the importance of shoulder-tapping. Here's an exceprt:

"If the pastors or church staff members are the ones solely responsible for finding and placing new volunteers, then the growth of the church will be limited. Why? Because very few people will respond to pleas for help. Rather, most will jump in and help either because they want to make a difference with their lives OR because they want deeper relational connections with others. That's why you must teach shoulder-tapping. All leaders and volunteers must believe that it is their responsibility to tap the shoulders of the folks next to them and invite them into ministry."  Page 45, Chapter 14

Doing this requires changing the culture. In most churches, the culture says that it is the job of the hired staff to recruit more help. I love it when a volunteer gets it. This week, I received this email from Steve, a Granger volunteer...

Dear Tim,

Deb and I are some of those "mature" people who showed up at GCC about 2 years ago because we realized we weren't seeing any harvest from our church or from ourselves. Anyway, we plugged in quickly (that's the easy part for us mature folk) to ministry teams and we started to understand our challenge to become real neighbors (invest and invite - that's the harder part, at least for us).  Deb and I came to a First Impressions orientation shortly after joining and found some great opportunities.  I joined the Campus Guide team and over time became its coordinator.

Like many team leaders at GCC, we would really like to have more people involved with what we do.  Recently, I found myself grumbling about the lack of any orientation sessions recently.  How were we supposed to get people plugged in?  Then it hit me (God smacking me upside the head) - I was placing expectations on staff to do what our team is well equipped to do on it's own.  We need to take responsibility for inviting people through channels that don't require another 30 hours from [staff].  I began discussing our circumstance with my team leaders.  I know they also struggle with keeping enough bodies, but the response so far has been amazing.  Most have said they have people that are ready for a bigger challenge and they need to step up.   A couple of recommendations have been made and we have added 3 new guides in the past month, 2 as a direct result of those conversations.

I suspect that one of the biggest challenges the SMT wrestles with is how to keep "next steps" happening while never losing our passion for people who don't know Jesus. This past weekend was a great introduction to many new opportunties that we now have to grow. Well, we still have a lot to learn (Deb and I). But the leadership all of you provide (including letting us gently figure out some things for ourselves) is great. I am really enjoying the journey.

It's pretty cool when someone gets it--that is when you know the beliefs are invading the culture.