Find, Recruit, and Retain a 5 Star Volunteer/Leader

Are you looking for a 5 Star volunteer/leader, how to recruit, and retain them? Here are some characteristics you might want to consider.

A 5 Star volunteer/leader should be:

  1. Committed to Christ.
  2. Committed to the vision of the church.
  3. Willing to surrender individual gain, popularity, and agendas to the churches vision.
  4. Loyal beyond measure.
  5. Willing to take on responsibility and difficult tasks.
  6. Have a desire to “take things off the leaders plate”.
  7. Honest, even when it hurts.
  8. Be willing to give their talent, time, and treasure to the vision.

To recruit a 5Star volunteer/leader you should:

  1. Communicate the vision of the organization with passion and clarity.
  2. Give clear guidelines of the job, its time requirements, and your expectations.
  3. Provide a trial time for both parties to discover if the job matches the volunteer.
  4. Never give the title away until there is 100% agreement, passion, commitment, and competency.
  5. Ask a ton of questions. Get to know them, their family, likes, and dislikes.

To retain a 5Star volunteer/leader you should:

  1. Consistently communicate the vision, direction, and immediate goals of the organization.
  2. Consistently say “Thank You”, encourage them, and highlight their accomplishments.
  3. Brag on them to others. Word gets around!
  4. Meet with them on a regular basis.
  5. Provide an open environment for them to express concerns, ideas, and passion.
  6. Don’t delegate, use, and abuse them. Empower them to take initiative and risks.
  7. Be personal and have a genuine concern for their happiness and their family.
  8. Let them in and trust them. Share your struggles and BE REAL!
  9. Never look at the them as a number or person to complete tasks. They are partners for the vision.

Did you see a common theme in the three lists? The first, and most important, priority of a leader is to have a clear vision and direction for the organization. If you can’t provide the finish line then how can you expect someone to start the race? Before anyone of quality will buy into and commit to any organization they must first know where it’s heading.

These lists are just the beginning! I would love to hear any additions or corrections you would like to make. Just leave a comment below.

What’s Your Method

The method that you abuse is the wrong one! People get tired of the same ole thing. Mix it up a bit! The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. To keep your small group engaged you must produce variety in your delivery.

Listed below are the two most popular teaching methods used in a small group. See which one you think is the best at fulfilling the purpose of an entry level small group.

Lecture: Lecture is when the leader is the central focus of information transfer. Typically, a leader will stand before a class and present information for the group to learn. Usually, very little exchange occurs between the leader and the group during a lecture.

Pros of Lecture as a Teaching Method:

· Lectures are a straightforward way to impart knowledge quickly to the group.

· Leaders have a greater control over what is taught in the group because they provide the core information.

· Group members who are auditory learners find that lectures appeal to their learning style.

· Logistically, a lecture is often easier to create than other methods of instruction.

· Lecture is a method familiar to most small group leaders because it was typically the way they were taught.

Cons of Lecture as a Teaching Method:

· Those not strong in auditory learning will have a harder time being engaged by lectures.

· Group members will retain less than 10% of what was taught.

· Group members can find lectures boring causing them to lose interest.

· The group may not feel that they are able to ask questions as they arise during lectures.

· Leaders may become irrelevant for the group due to the lack of exchanges during lectures.

Final Thoughts: Lectures are simply one tool in a leader’s arsenal of teaching methods. Just as with all the other tools, it should only be used when most appropriate (ie. Large groups). The lecture delivery style should vary week to week to keep the group engaged.

Group Discussion: Group Discussion is a modified form of lecture where the focus is shared between the leader and the group for information transfer. Typically, a leader will sit with the class and present information for the students to learn but the students will also participate by answering questions and providing life examples.  Sitting with the group shows them that the leader is a part of the group and is will to share life experiences with them. You become an honest, concerned, compassionate leader when you sit with the group.

Pros of Group Discussion:

· Group discussions provide for greater interaction between the leader and group members.

· Leaders maintain a greater control over what is being taught because they are able to steer the discussion.

· Auditory learners find them appealing to their learning style.

· Leaders can evaluate in real time what is being retained through questions posed.

· Group discussion is comfortable for many leaders because they share the load of teaching with the group.

· The group has a tendency to stay focused on the lesson because they might be able to share a question, comment, or life experience.

· The group feels more comfortable asking questions during group discussions.

· The leader can address ministry issues and questions that arise because the environment allows it.

· The retention rate for a discussion driven group is 50%.

Cons of Group Discussion:

· Group discussions require establishing and maintaining ground rules for the group. If these ground rules are not followed then there is a possibility that the discussion could quickly go off-topic.

· Some students may not feel comfortable being put on the spot during a group discussion.

· The leader must become a master of asking the right questions that are open ended and life applicable.

Final Thoughts: Group discussions are an excellent teaching method when used in conjunction with other methods. It is important that leaders be good at managing and facilitating the discussions. Questioning techniques are effective for this. Two questioning techniques that leaders can employ are to increase their wait time after a question is asked, and to only ask one question at a time.

Consider this: What teaching style do you mainly use? Does your style facilitate achievement of the groups purpose? Should you consider a new style if you are not producing the intended purpose of the group?

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Scales are Scary!

They’re scary, they’re honest, and they reveal so much more than a number. They reveal a lifestyle.

I stepped onto the scales at my mom’s house the other day and realized that I had lost around 12 pounds. I was pretty excited since I wasn’t on a DIEt or anything. So of course I told my mom that I had lost a few pounds. She quickly went on to bust my bubble informing me that she thought that the scales were broken and were off about 11 pounds. I guess 1 is better than none!

When we go to weigh on a set of scales we assume that they are accurate. We also assume a huge level of responsibility. There is only one person responsible for the weight on the scales and that’s the person standing on them.

Our small groups today need a weight check. Healthy growth within a small group is established through balancing the connection, creation, and cultivation within a group. Too much of any one of these begins to produce fat which is very difficult to burn off, and can eventually lead to death. Here are a few examples:

Too much Connection: If a small group spends most of its time on connection (fellowship) then the group is not growing in its understanding of God’s word (cultivate). It is also not exercising by starting new groups (create). This group becomes lazy and fat.

Too much Creation: If a small is rapidly reproducing more groups then there is a strong chance that no one within any of the groups has had a chance to build solid relationships. The group has more than likely abandoned the basic teaching of God’s word as well. The group may be known for reproduction but not for producing relationships or disciples. This group is tired and malnourished.

Too much Cultivation: If a small group has an unhealthy emphasis on teaching (cultivation), then it will begin to lack the environment for relationships to be built and the ability to reproduce. Entry level small groups are designed to teach the tip of the iceberg of Christianity (read I Kill Plants). When teaching goes beyond the basics then there is no need for a more intimate discipleship process (group). In depth teaching can also make guest feel lost and confused, which closes your doors to new growth. This group is too smart to exercise making them fat and lazy.

There should be a BALANCE on the scales! A healthy group and group leader should strive to spend an equal amount of emphasis and time on each value. By having a well-balanced emphasis on connecting with people, creating new groups, and cultivating God’s word into life a group will be the perfect picture of health. The small group will steadily reach new people, while building relationships, and producing Biblical life changes within the members.

The question: Is your group fat, lazy, and/or malnourished?

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