The Equipper Newsletter -- June 22, 2007

To unsubscribe, or to subscribe if you received this as a forward, email with "unsubscribe newsletter" or "subscribe newsletter" in the subject line. Published monthly by Karen Kogler.

The main article, "How to Be a Boss," below, addresses helpful basics for anyone in a leadership position, major or minor. It's also available in PDF version on Resources page for use as a handout:

New Resources: "Job Descriptions" and "Training Volunteers:" PowerPoint presentation packages are available on these topics for $15 each or $25 for both. Each 'package' contains 2 PowerPoint presentations, covering the 'why' and the 'how' of the topic, plus participant handouts and a leader's guide. They are designed as a self-education resource, and a tool for giving others in your congregation (staff, boards, volunteer teams, and large congregational groups) a comprehensive summary of these important topics. The participant handouts and leader's guides contain discussion questions, activities and resources for further study. More information: Job Descriptions; Training Volunteers. Purchase.

Interesting Reading: ""How to Convince Paid Staff of the Value of Mobilizing Volunteers" by Craig Williford on Rick Warren's website.

Collective Wisdom: Check out the collective wisdom area of the Energize, Inc. website for good ideas submitted by volunteer managers in a variety of non-profit settings. Includes recognition ideas, supervising tips, and a wealth of "reflections" on volunteering. The humorous ones are especially fun.

Schedule: This newsletter is "scheduled" to go out near the first of every month. Obviously, life and other responsibilities sometimes get in my way. Future issues will hopefully more closely follow the schedule, but there will always be at least two weeks between issues, and the average will remain one issue a month.

How to be a Boss

by Karen Kogler

Last Sunday I asked a group of people to consider whether they prefer to be leaders or followers. I had them demonstrate the degree of their preference for one or the other by choosing a place to stand along an imaginary line on the floor. 'Followers' definitely outnumbered 'leaders.'

Our definitions of leader vary along with our preferences, but whether we think of ourselves as leaders or not, many of us serve as the head, coordinator or manager of others. The senior pastor, Director of Christian Education and choir director are all leaders, but so are those who coordinate the altar care volunteers or the ushers. The Sunday school superintendent and members of the church council are leaders, but so are those who lead home Bible study groups and those who coordinate human care teams. The church has a lot of people in leadership positions.

When we head a group, our actions affect the others in our group. Some people instinctively use their leadership position and influence to benefit group members. The rest of us need to think about it and practice it. Here are some basic ways any leader, major or minor, can benefit the people in their group.

  1. Stay connected to THE Boss.

    We are God's stewards in all we do. Regular worship, participation in the sacraments, and frequent time in God's Word and prayer (alone and with others), are always our primary resources.

  2. Be a servant leader.

    As King of kings, Jesus is the ultimate leader. Yet he came to us as a servant, pointedly reaching out to the most lowly, to the extent of sacrificing his life. No other path is possible for his followers.

  3. Know your purpose.

    We're often so busy doing things, we overlook purpose. Does your group see its purpose in the immediate task: to complete a lesson, hand out bulletins, or sing an anthem? Or is the purpose connected to results in human lives: to grow in faith and trust, to support meaningful worship or to communicate God's truth? Does your group talk about how their purpose connects with the congregation's purpose? If everyone has their own purpose, they go in different directions.

  4. Look for giftedness.

    Most people do not have a clear picture of their own giftedness; some have no picture at all. One of the greatest contributions a leader can make is to notice and mention the gifts and abilities of people on their team, and open up ways they can use these gifts.

  5. Help people do their jobs.

    Be an enabler. Regularly ask, "How's it going?" and really listen to the answer. Provide training and resources. Minimize or remove roadblocks and hurdles. Go to bat for your team. Kingdom work will flourish.

  6. Address problems early.

    Most of us prefer to avoid conflict rather than address it. We even feel that's the Christian thing to do. Speaking the truth in love is harder, but it's the only way of handling conflict that, in the long run, builds a healthy body of believers.

  7. Help people grow.

    Look for potential. Some people, even busy people, would actually enjoy more responsibility. Delegate well. Identify and train new leaders.

  8. Offer affirmation.

    A simple "thank you" acknowledges not only the effort, but the person behind it. Commenting positively on the work accomplished builds that person for further kingdom work. And tying the work's result back to the initial purpose affirms the importance of the contribution and encourages future participation. It also reminds both worker and boss that the focus is on neither of us, but on the leader we all follow, Jesus Christ.

At the article version, scroll down and you can comment on this article.

A version of this article as a handout is available on the Resources page.

This is The Equipper Newsletter
Published by Karen Kogler
The Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources
Churches Equipping Saints for Service
To subscribe or unsubscribe, email