The Equipper Newsletter
May 3, 2010
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

Welcome, new subscribers from the Women's Leadership Conference in Milwaukee!
  Remember the Middle
Your pastor supports equipping volunteers to serve. You have a designated person and team that helps people serve. You've got a great start. But for real change, don't forget the middle -- the "middle management."
In "Middle Managers are Key," an online excerpt of From the Top Down, author Susan Ellis says, "These key people convey overt and subtle messages about expectations and can become an obstacle to effective volunteer involvement . . . . In the worst cases, this can amount to sabotage."
Who are the middle managers in the church? Both staff and volunteers, they include the Director of Christian Education and the music director, the office secretary and the business manager, heads of boards and teams, the women's ministry leader and youth softball coach, and the coordinators of the ushers, the Sunday school and the hospitality team. And so on.
These middle managers either intentionally help, or unintentionally hinder, the many volunteers they serve with and direct. They will make or break your equipping efforts.
How can you involve, train and support these key leaders? What can you do to combat apathy or resistance? 

Note: Ellis' book From the Top Down examines the role of the chief executive in the success of volunteerism in an organization. She is not specifically addressing churches, but one pastor told me "I was amazed at how much of what it said is true in the church, too" and others have echoed him.
 Survey Results
Thank you to all who gave feedback on The Equipper content via the survey in last month's newsletter. Results available here.
A personal note: Within the last month, my husband and I have invited his mother to move in with us and she has accepted. We look forward to this new call from God for all three of us. How it will affect The Equipper is yet to be seen, but plans to expand are on hold.
 Good Stuff on the Web
  • One twenty-something speaks for her generation and explains "Why Don't We Volunteer," while also letting the rest of us in on what makes them want to give their time and talent.
  • Are you sometimes frustrated that others in your church don't equip volunteers well? Are you being the best possible role model for equipping volunteers in whatever roles you fill? "Practicing What We Preach" gives us a good checklist. It's from the Energize, Inc. newsletter. Sign up for it at or by emailing
  • "Many places throughout the Christian church are faced with hard realities such as declining membership and financial shortages." Alban institute presents a thoughtful article explaining the scriptural reality of "The Ministry of the Baptized" as an exciting change. Also noted: ""Key to the incarnation of baptismal ministry in local congregations is the acknowledgement that in many places church structures can stifle the generosity of the Holy Spirit with a need for order and control.""

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