How To Go The Distance With Your Volunteers

Laura BlankenshipEditor’s Note: This is a guest post from our friend Laura Blankenship. You can follow Laura on Twitter at @laurabmusic7. Many thanks to Laura for sharing this perspective on worship with us!

I’d say there are a fair amount of us Worship Leaders with a music team full of volunteers and not paid musicians. And if you’ve been at it for any length of time, you have probably experienced turn-over on your team. It seems there is always an urgency to recruit.

What about after the recruitment and training? What about after the honeymoon phase when the newness of being in the band as worn off?

Worship Leaders, how can we help our volunteers go the distance and have longevity on our team?

1. Vision, vision, vision.

You have to help you volunteers remember the WHY. You might be able to recite your church’s mission statement in your sleep but can your worship team? They need to hear you talking about this often. They need to feel your excitement to bring glory to God through music. They need to hear the stories of the lives being changed each week at your church. Weave vision into your team huddles and prayer time. Bring it up at your next team meeting or hangout night. It’s so much easier for a volunteer to drag themselves out of bed early Sunday morning when they can be sure they know why the need to show up.

2. Relationships!

This is just as important as number one. You must build relationships and do life with your volunteers. And it can’t be done with a laissez faire attitude. Be intentional with the love you show. For me, it’s hand-written thank you notes I drop in the mail at least twice a year. It’s coffee or lunch with two team members per month. It’s picking up the phone to check on that person who just wrote a Facebook post about their mom passing.

Make a list of your team members and look over it every single week. Pick out a name or two that you can work on further developing your relationship.

As a team, hangouts and meetings can go a long way when it comes to building relationships. We shoot for every other month and we always have food, fun, and team building.

3. Place a high value on their time.

We can do this in several ways. First, if you are requiring your volunteers to have specific rehearsal times, make sure your rehearsal is not a waste of their time. Starting on time can go a long way in showing your volunteers you value their time commitment. Come prepared as a leader and be ready to lead.

Second, be mindful of burn out. This one can be tough and it requires us leaders to have excellent communication with our team members. As a general rule at our church, volunteers need to at least have one week off each month. Even if someone says, “I want to serve every single week with no breaks ever!!” I express to them the importance of taking weeks off for rest.

Lastly, create an environment where your volunteers feel needed and useful. This is really going to come from you and your attitude and approach with your team members week in and week out.

Leaders, let’s put some time and effort into developing longevity with our volunteers. What are your ideas? Leave a comment and let me know how you fight the battle of turn over.

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