The Equipper Newsletter
December 1, 2009
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

 When Dreams Should Die
 by Karen Kogler
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
by Langston Hughes

When people talk to me, I listen for their dreams. I do it especially when I'm serving as one of the people in our church who talk one-on-one with our new members, to help them get connected and find a good place to serve. As we get to know them, we keep an ear open for their dreams. We might ask about their dreams with questions such as "What would you most enjoy doing here?" or "If you could do anything at all for the Lord, what might it be?"

Dreams can be a window to our gifts and passions. When dreams involve serving other people, the church can be a place where people live out their dreams through ministry in the body of Christ. Someone who dreamed of a career as counselor for troubled youth, for example, but didn't have the money to finish college might fulfill their dream by working with the youth group and mentoring some of the teens.

Do you have a dream? Books, workshops and tools for "finding your purpose" or "writing your personal mission statement," are popular these days. In a sense, they're a "identify your dream" process. By examining your gifts, your experiences, and where God has placed you in life, they help you define a specific goal or aim. Like a dream, a goal or purpose can give you direction, meaning and a feeling that what you are doing is significant.

Dreams are usually good. They can be a God-given passion that drives someone to do wonderful things for God's kingdom. But dreams can be deadly, too. Read more.

 Volunteer Management Achieves "Idiot" Status!
Helping people serve in the church is not the same as managing volunteers in non-church organizations, but there are many similarities and bridges between the two. (See "Faith-based and Secular Volunteering.") When awareness of  volunteers and the importance of supporting them is increased globally, that supports the equipping of God's saints for service.
So we can rejoice with others who manage volunteers that the volunteer management profession has achieved new status and recognition with the publication of a new title in the "Idiot's" series: The Idiot's Guide to Recruiting and Managing Volunteers.
I have not seen the book but Energize Inc. has interviewed author John Lipp. Would his book be helpful for church leaders? Check out these comments by the author in the interview:
  • "I hope the book will [be] . . . a valuable resource for all people who find themselves supervising volunteers in some capacity."
  • "A lot of organizations don’t spend enough time planning for volunteers and instead put all of their efforts into recruiting.  As we all know, bringing in volunteers without a clear sense of what role they will play and how they will be supported can lead to a lot of frustration and finger pointing down the road.  In short, never underestimate the importance of a good position description."
  • His "Goldilocks Rule" for training volunteers: "I learned that the key to preparing volunteers was to give them just the right amount of training they needed to be successful in their positions. If your organization requires too much, you can lose valuable people who might have a lot to offer. Require too little, and you may be putting your organization’s clients, and the volunteers themselves, at risk. It’s a balancing act. Goldilocks understood when things were “just right,” and most volunteers will too."
If you read the book, share your thoughts
 Good Stuff on the Web
  • Temptations in Ministry -- Church staff and volunteers are both vulnerable to the temptations described in this article: going it alone; distancing dissent; ownership rather than stewardship; majoring in minors and lack of joy. 
  • Five Things That Children's Ministry Volunteers Need
  • A story on Rick Warren in USA Today, "Warren's Purpose-Driven Politics" is not really about politics, but about the church's global character and the global needs the church can address as we serve. Warren notes, "The church has more locations than all the WalMarts and Starbucks and everything else combined. It has more volunteers. The church was global 200 years before anyone started talking about globalization."

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The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources