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Question: Finding Co-leaders
I am passionate about what I do and I always find volunteers. However, I feel at a loss because I haven't found anyone to be "passionate" with me in a vision or direction. They all seem to follow or support. How do I find someone to drive it with me? Or maybe I don't want anyone? It's just that it's taxing to meet, search and encourage people. Maybe I'm not enabling people enough? It takes a lot of people to enable; I'm a volunteer.
From Beth in Wisconsin
This is a very good question, and an important one. Wise leaders know the value of having partners, to avoid their own burnout, and they intentionally seek out partners.
It's also a tough question. I'm dealing with it in my ministry. Support is necessary, but fellow leaders are also needed, and are harder to find. I'm hoping some of our readers can chime in and give us both some help.
In the meantime, here are my thoughts.
- Prayer is vital and central. Although finding a co-leader takes work on your part, God is the supplier of the various parts of the body of Christ.
- Try to discern who in your ministry has leadership potential. When they say, "I'm not a leader..." it may be because they lack self-confidence or experience. When people are willing, try "growing" leaders by giving them a small responsibility. Support them and if they are successful, offer more responsibility.
- Also look outside your ministry area. Talk about the 'big picture' of your ministry--the 'why' behind the 'what'-every chance you get. Share articles or information, especially with people who demonstrate leadership. Look for those who show interest, who catch your vision. They might not be interested in serving in the routine ways, but might have interest in helping some leadership task: organizing, publicizing, planning, etc.
- The church sometimes unintentionally discourages high-capacity volunteers. And leaders often are high-capacity people. Look among those who are not currently volunteering. Get to know them, and their skills and experience, through general conversation.
- Be willing to take a risk. This is the hardest part. Someone else won't do things just like I do them. And they might even do them better than I do them.
You concluded: "It takes a lot of people to enable; I'm a volunteer." Yes, there's a lot of work involved to enable/equip everyone in a church. But everyone can be an equipper, even in small ways. And volunteers are as good-and sometimes better-at it than staff!