Everyday Equipping: What’s Your Score?
You have more influence on volunteerism in your church than you think. We all do. Even those of us not in a position of authority, with no leadership gifts or inclinations; we influence others. Of course, leaders play a major role in recruiting and retaining church volunteers. But the health of volunteering in your church, for better or worse, is also shaped by ordinary, everyday actions of ordinary, everyday people. (And if you are a leader, your everyday actions either build or diminish your influence.)
The good news: it’s easier than you think to be an equipper, someone who invests in people to help them use their gifts in service to their Lord.
Let’s see how you’re doing as an equipper.
The ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ is a great movtivator.
- When did you last comment on someone’s ability? “Jamie, you’re a great leader. I love how you keep the vision in front of us.” You get bonus points if you praised a more ordinary talent (an ability to calm an upset child; to make a new person feel welcome; to explain a task clearly) vs. extraordinary talent. The latter are more often noticed than the former. Best of all, identify the talent as a gift from God. “God has sure given you a wonderful ability to listen to people, Jim.” “Felicia, your patience and persistence today are a true gift from God.”
- When did you last invite someone to serve with you? “Frank, want to join me on that service project next weekend?” “Phyllis, why don’t you come with me to work in the Nursery on Sunday?” Bonus points if your invitation is tied to a specific ability. “Yes, I’m working on the fall rummage sale. You’re a good organizer, Joanne. Could you help me organize a drop-off plan?”
- How often do you include both serving and mission in the same comment? “Thanks for ushering today, Ed. You were so helpful and efficient, it helped people focus on the worship.” “Let’s make this a great VBS so the kids will get to know Jesus.” They ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ is a key motivator.
Healthy relationships are the soil of healthy volunteerism.
- How fast do you move? You don’t get points here for speed; volunteerism is healthier when we slow down. When we curb our impulse to multi-task, we notice more. We listen more. We give ourselves time to care and to show we care. Healthy relationships are the soil for healthy volunteerism.
- Have you tamed your tongue? In any church, we can find reasons to gossip and badmouth, to complain and criticize. That talk hurts people, yes. But it also injures the whole church, including volunteerism. When we “speak the truth in love” [Eph.4:15], the church flourishes.
- How often have you said thank you around church? Have you thanked your pastor, or the people who set up communion, or shovel the snow, or distribute the donated Christmas gifts, or serve on the governing board? Try writing a short note of appreciation and snail mail it to someone; it’s a safe bet it will make their day and they will keep it.
We’ve all got room to grow.
Reading these six items gives you an idea of where you are now as an everyday equipper. But your real score comes from what you do next.
- If you’ve read this article thoughtfully and think you ought to do something sometime about being a better equipper–that’s a start. You get 10 points.
- You’ve chosen one thing you’re going to start doing, or stop doing, or do differently to be a better equipper-great! You’ve taken a step to being a better equipper. 100 points for you!
- You’ve shared your commitment to being a better equipper with someone else and asked them to hold you accountable-wonderful! You’re most likely to multiply healthy equipping throughout your church!
We’ve all got room to grow. As we grow in everyday equipping, we become more of an equipping church, and so are better prepared for the adventures of being used for our Lord’s purposes!