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The main article, below, excerpts an article that was not about the church. But what the article presented in "The Seven Deadly Sins of Leadership" applies most directly to churches and their volunteers.
Something to try -- Susan Ellis, in her May Volunteer Management Update, suggests asking volunteers, "What skill do you have that this organization has never asked you to use on its behalf?" You're likely to be surprised by some of the answers. She rightly emphasizes, though, that you shouldn't ask unless you intend to follow up and seriously investigate the possibility of utilizing those skills. Susan Ellis leads Energize, Inc. Their website has a variety of volunteerism resources for non-profit organizations.
Found a good spiritual gift assessment? Many people are looking for one. Here's some links to various assessments.
On the Equipper website: "What is Equipping?" is a short presentation that explains how equipping volunteers is more, and better, than just recruiting volunteers. You can also download this presentation free.
Can the right hand learn from the left hand how to use one of its greatest resources?
God's right-hand kingdom, Martin Luther said, is the kingdom of grace and the Gospel, in which we are given his undeserved love and forgiveness. God's left-hand kingdom, Luther continues, is the kingdom of this world, governed by law and earthly principles, with civic--and natural--consequences when laws are broken. Luther emphasized that God rules both these kingdoms.
The church, God's gathered people, is the embodiment and the proclaimer of the kingdom of grace. Only God's grace in Jesus Christ can solve the basic problem of every person in it-separation from God due to our sin.
But the church also exists in, and is part of, the left hand kingdom. Our programs and activities, our planning and leadership structure, while used to proclaim grace, are influenced by the world around us, as they should be. We are not of the world, but we are in it. And it is God's world.
A recent newsletter article, from a company that sells human resources products to businesses, contains left-hand kingdom truth from which the church can learn. "The Seven Deadly Sins of Leadership" lists mistakes leaders make that hurt their businesses. Interestingly, 5 of the 8 (they couldn't resist adding a bonus sin) have to do with the relationship of the company and its managers to the employees. Reflect on these excerpts from a right-hand perspective, thinking of the church's primary workforce--its volunteers.
Deadly sins of leadership:
Do your volunteers know the church's purpose? Can they verbalize it to people they serve? Do they see the connection between what they're doing in ministry and the church's purpose?
The church doesn't hire, and it certainly doesn't turn away willing workers. But do people get 'placed' in a haphazard manner? Do volunteers sometimes take a position primarily out of a sincere desire to serve, with little regard for matching their gifts to the position? How often do we personally help people find that right match of gifts and position?
Do we train people for their tasks at church? Do we intentionally develop their talents? How many of our people have talents that are under-used or unused in their employment? Perhaps the Lord gave them those talents for his work in the church. Do we try to seek those talents out?
Where two or three are gathered, there will be conflict. We let domineering people have their way for fear of offending them. We ignore ongoing conflict in hopes it will go away. We rightly want to avoid causing anyone to leave the church, but we therefore avoid our responsibility to "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). We all need constructive feedback, especially when we don't want it.
We've all seen burned out volunteers. Some of them leave for another church, vowing never to volunteer again. Others continue to work, but with weariness instead of joy. Have you ever encouraged a good worker to cut back in order to get more rest or meet their other responsibilities? Or is their work more important than they are?
Jesus Christ, coming to us in Word and Sacrament, is the church's joy and its greatest asset. But the people God gathers in his church may well be its next greatest asset. Called by him and gifted by him, we are his people, serving him within and beyond the church walls. It's not an easy task. Let's work together to help each other serve, and in so doing, help the church more effectively bring the kingdom of grace to those who so desperately need it.
At the article version, scroll down and you can comment on this article.
This is The Equipper Newsletter
Published by Karen Kogler
The Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources
Churches Equipping Saints for Service
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